Dahil sa research: Here's how a Pinoy scientist saved the world's corn industry

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 10 2019 06:51 PM | Updated as of Oct 10 2019 07:09 PM

Photo from National Academy of Science and Technology


MANILA - A Filipino scientist's research back in 1961 saved the world's corn industry a decade later.

National Scientist Dr. Ricardo M. Lantican, in 1961, co-authored a study on the disease called Southern corn leaf blight, which affected a number of crops in the cornfields of University of the Philippines Los Baños, according to an article published by science news website FlipScience.

According to Lantican and his team's research, corn crops with the T-cytoplasm trait are more susceptible to the disease.

Unfortunately, Lantican's team's research went unnoticed until 1970, when corn crops in the US were infected with the same disease caused by the Helminthospcrium maydis fungus.

The said disease decimated the US' corn yield that year, and it was only that time when they realized the value of Lantican's study, published almost a decade earlier.

 

It was only at that time when people realized that Lantican and his team have already studied the problem way before the disease caused a problem in the US.

Aside from research on corn, Lantican also developed over 20 enhanced varieties of mungbean, soybean and peanuts.

It was because of his contributions to research and agriculture that Lantican received the National Scientist title in 2005.

FlipScience first published its article on Lantican in January 2019.

On Wednesday, Senator Cynthia Villar chastised the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday over what she said was its bloated budget on research on corn. 

During a Senate hearing on the agriculture budget, Villar said the DA's National Corn Program was allocating too much on personnel services and research, and not enough on delivering actual services to farmers.