Research project receives Php13M CHED DARE-TO grants

Dr. Bernadeth F. Ticar

The research project on Extraction, Characterization, and Biodiversity Conservation of Marine-Sourced Bioactive Natural Polysaccharides as Potential Functional Ingredients in Food and Nutraceuticals received  13 million pesos funding from the Discovery Applied Research and Extension for Trans/Interdisciplinary Opportunities (DARE-TO) Grant-in-Aid for Higher Education Faculty and Staff Affected by the K to 12 Transition by the Commission on Higher Education.

The project is based on previous studies on the curative powers of group of compounds known as glycosaminoglycans among marine organisms specifically on marine invertebrates. Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which includes hyaluronic acids (HA), chondroitin sulfate (CS) and heparin, are large, complex, carbohydrate molecules that interact with a wide range of proteins involve in pathological and physiological processes.

Hyaluronic acids are ubiquitous in normal and pathological biological process, a very effective hydrating agent, and plays an important role in stimulating immune system. It is also used to increase joint mobility, clear eye vision, anti-aging, and as wound healing promoter. On the other hand, CS has unique anti-coagulant properties. It is also useful as a target for the development of cancer and at present it is also used as an oral drug for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Heparin is used as an anticoagulant drug but also possesses anti-sepsis, anti-spontaneous abortion, anti-selecting mediated inflammation, anti-cystitis and anti-tumor metastasis properties.

The ISAT U researchers are embarking on  the study because of the richness  in the local seas of  marine organism and the less studied bioactive compounds, nutraceutical properties and other potential health benefits.

The team headed by Dr. Bernadeth F. Ticar focuses on the extractions of GAGs in marine organisms along the coastal areas of Guimaras Islands, Northern Iloilo, Antique, Aklan, Capiz Provinces. The  content will be subjected to bioactivities assessment that will be used for engineering of potential functional ingredients in food products, supplements and nutraceuticals.