ILOILO CITY: An Ilongga scientist started exploration of marine sediments for possible micro-organism that may be used to treat cancer and HIV-AIDs, considered as the first to be conducted on Philippine ocean floors.
The exploration was piloted in June in the many islets comprising Isla de Gigantes in northern Iloilo, according to Dr. Doralyn Dalisay, a Balik Scientist program grantee of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
The lone Filipina scientist in marine biology from the University of British Columbia was offered a research project by the University of San Agustin in Iloilo City to lead the research.
Dalisay said the marine sediment is rich in micro-organisms and Panay Island oceans abound with these resources.
Her return to the university in Iloilo is focused on the search for new antibiotics from marine resources and the development of a new antibacterial drug by 2020.
The Dalisay lab research team is composed of nine medical students and researchers of the West Visayas State University that collected 30 samples of sediments and to identify marine isolates for molecular identification and actinobacteria (group of Gram-positive bacteria) source by the University of San Agustin DNA laboratory.
Dalisay, however, said there is an urgent need to protect the area from poachers and tourists so as not to disturb the microorganisms on the ocean floors of Waay-dahon and Bantique islets in the Gigantes chain of islands.
She added that local government units must act immediately to protect the rich resources and ocean floors considered as biodiversity hot spots.
Gigantes is fast developing as a new tourist attraction in northern Iloilo and hundreds of tourists visit the islands everyday to swim in the hidden lagoon known as Tangke.
Dalisay said their team is also considering a research in Saranggani province in Mindanao, the Tubbataha Reefs, as well as in San Joaquin, Iloilo; Nogas Island in Anini-y, Antique; Seco Island in Tibiao, Antique; Crocodile Island in Aklan and in Guimaras Island.