University of St. La Salle

USLS, Herbanext Laboratories forge research partnership

With the goal of developing functional foods in the Philippines, the University of St. La Salle (USLS) and Herbanext Laboratories, Inc. (HLI) officially sealed a collaborative research agreement on April 11 at the Ledesma Boardroom, USLS. 

This marked the official partnership between the two institutions for their research entitled ‘Project PULSES: Processing and Utilization of Lagundi and Legume via Simple and Economical.’

Under the leadership of Dr. Joval N. Martinez, Research Professor of the Biology Department and his co-investigator Philip Cruz, President and CEO of HLI, the two-year Project PULSES, acquired funding from the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) under the DOST - NICER Program SPC-FUEL for Health: Sugarcane, Pulses, and Cacao Products from Functional Food Innovations to Enhance Life led by its Program Leader Dr. Jonel P. Saludes of the University of San Agustin. 

The project aims to reinvent two local ingredients, Lagundi tea and mung beans, into consumables that have enhanced functional and nutritional qualities while also being palatable to the Filipino populace. 

Lagundi, recognized for its medicinal properties, will be processed as fermented herbal tea to enhance its organoleptic attributes and antioxidant activity through fermentation.

Simultaneously, efforts are underway to craft a kidney-friendly ready-to-eat (RTE) meal with mung beans as the primary ingredient to cater individuals afflicted with gout and hyperuricemia.

At the signing ceremony University Chancellor Minnie Chua  expressed her support and confidence in the partnership’s endeavor while Research and Development Manager at HLI Phil Aidan Cruz highlighted the importance of integrating our own culture in the advancement of functional foods. 

The ceremony was also supported by the Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Research and Engagement Dr. Romeo Teruel and the OIC Director of the Institutional Research Engagement Office Dr. Jie Arro as well as the Department Chairs of the Natural Sciences and Biology Dr. Eva Grace B. Chavez and Jessica Pacalioga respectively. 

Assistant Professor of USLS Biology Department Kyle Patrick Taruc and project staff of the project PULSES joined the ceremony together with the dedicated STEM women research assistants who are playing key roles in the project.

With the combined efforts of USLS and HLI, this initiative is expected to contribute to the development of nutritional research, paving the way for the eventual large-scale manufacturing of these groundbreaking products produced from academe-industry partnership.

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