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PHL scientists to use microorganism to help reforestation projects

The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ERDB-DENR) has developed a kind of microorganism that has the potential of increasing the survival rate of trees in poor soil conditions.
Mycorrhiza, the microorganism in question, is a fungal species that helps plants absorb water, even in arid soil, and releases enzymes that dissolve nutrients necessary for plant growth. 

According to a press release from DENR, mycorrhiza was patented as a utility model by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the Philippines in 2012.
According to Dr. Henry Adornado, ERDB acting director, not only does mycorrhiza help plant growth and survival, it’s also cost-effective, sustainable, and environment-friendly. Once in the roots of a plant, it will stay there throughout the plant’s lifetime.
“This technology, commercially known as the Hi-Q Vam 1, is helping trees to grow much faster, doubling the rate compared to those without mycorrhiza,” said Adornado.
Dr. Evangeline Castillo, ERDB’s mycorrhizologist, field experiments show that mycorrhiza actively spreads its roots in poor soil conditions to obtain nutrients needed for plant survival.
“Since many of the marginal areas such as upland, grassland, mined-out and other areas in the country have been degraded due to unsustainable farming, grazing, and ore extraction activities, the mycorrhiza that is naturally available in many plant species have been lost from the soil,” Castillo said.
Hi-Q Vam 1 is currently being used in the production of planting materials for DENR’s National Greening Program (NGP) which aims to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of public land by 2016. ERDB will be producing 411 metric tons of Hi-Q Vam 1 for the NGP. —Bea Montenegro/KG, GMA News