Scientist IV, Dr. Dionisio Alvindia Introduces Microbial Control Agent as Possible Solution for Pestalotiopsis Infection in Basilan Rubber Plantations
The Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI) is partnering with Scientist IV Dr. Dionisio G. Alvindia to find solutions for the spread of Pestalotiopsis infection among rubber trees, which has been a major concern for the local rubber industry in Basilan. This infection causes severe leaf fall, leading to reduced yield and poor quality of rubber. Although the exact treatment for Pestalotiopsis leaf fall is yet unknown, PRRI is dedicated to treating and boosting infected plantations.
Dr. Alvindia, Director and Scientist IV of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) who has also been awarded the 2022 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award, the highest award for public servants, recently visited PRRI and introduced a potential treatment for the disease. His extensive research on plant pathogens and microbial control agents led him to believe that MCA could be a possible answer to the Pestalotiopsis infection. He shared his findings and discussed the potential of this treatment with the PRRI research team.
Dr. Alvindia also conducted a demonstration on how to do trunk injection using microbial control agent in a confirmed infected area in Barangay Camanga, Titay. The PRRI staff had the opportunity to witness the process firsthand and were able to inject the MCA into the trees themselves. Dr. Alvindia recommended that trunk injection may be done for treating mature rubber trees with a circumference of at least 6 inches. However, drenching may be done for seedlings.
In his latest study, Dr. Alvindia found out that the leaf fall disease may be vascular, as evidenced by the symptoms he observed in the stems of rubber seedlings from Zamboanga Peninsula. He conducted tests in his laboratory and shared his findings with the PRRI research team during his visit. With his expertise and the collaboration with PRRI, the local rubber plantations can look forward to a potential solution to combat this disease.
(Actual shots from Brgy. Camanga, Titay with Pestalotiopsis Symptoms as of April 14, 2023)
The potential of MCA in treating diseases among other perennial crops has also been demonstrated among other crops such as cacao, lanzones, and durian. The development of this treatment is not only significant for the rubber industry in Basilan but for the entire country as well. It showcases the potential of local scientists and researchers to address the challenges facing the agricultural sector.
Dr. Alvindia’s visit to PRRI has opened the doors to more collaboration and research between the two organizations. This partnership can pave the way for further developments in the field of agriculture, not just in Basilan but across the Philippines.