Plant species named after pope unveiled in UST exhibit

By Evelyn Macairan, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 24 2015 08:32 AM | Updated as of Mar 24 2015 04:32 PM

MANILA - A newly discovered plant, a fungi and a virus to combat bacteria have been named after Pope Francis, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) reported yesterday.

In a statement, UST said the new species are part of the school’s papal exhibit dubbed ''Thomasian Scientists' Expression of Love'' that ends Saturday.

Grecebio Jonathan Alejandro of the UST Graduate School and Research Cluster for the Natural and Applied Sciences named after Pope Francis a new flowering plant species with potential medicinal properties, now known as Hedyotis papafranciscoi Alejandro, sp.nov.

According to Alejandro, the plant species found in Mt. Madia-as in Antique could be used in treating cancer, fever, rheumatism and malaria. A paper discussing the plant was published in the maiden issue of the Antoninus Journal, a multidisciplinary publication of the UST Graduate School.

The College of Science also found two other newly characterized Philippine organisms, namely: Phyllostica francisci, sp. nov., a novel fungal endophyte with potential bio-active metabolites that can be useful in drug discovery, and vBE-popefrancis, a new bacteriophage isolate, which is a potential alternative to conventional therapy in bacterial infections.

Pope Francis, 78, visited the UST campus during his first papal visit to the country last Jan. 18.

He was in the country for five days from Jan. 15-19 with his apostolic and state visit centered on the theme ''Mercy and Compassion.''

It was at the university grounds where he met 10 inter-religious leaders and interacted with the youth.

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