Scientist Profile

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Claro M. Santiago

Outstanding Microbiologist (1993)

Expertise:

Dr. Claro Santiago, Jr. received commendation for research breakthroughs on: a) genetic improvement of straw mushroom (Volvariella volvacea), b) high temperature tolerant white button champignon mushroom (Agaricus species) and c) medicinal bracket fungi (Ganoderma lucidum) through protoplast fusion technique. His research efforts led to the isolation of various high yielding strains of edible fungi for food security and medical application. The cultivation of straw mushroom using his newly developed spawn inoculation techniques in 15 barangays in Pangasinan resulted to large scale propagation in 1984. A commercial brand canned product with the trade name “Real Mushroom” became available in selected supermarkets in Manila. The production of non-woven medical bandage from mushroom mycelium is credited to his achievements. It has been granted a patent by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the Bureau of Patents and is now ready for commercialization. This will lower the cost of medical bandage and makes it affordable for every Filipino. In another area, his developmental research work on anaerobic wastewater treatment led to the fabrication of a granular bed upflow blanket reactor, which has been adapted by soft drink factories. An upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket Reactor (UASB) was also designed, fabricated and tested as a means of water treatment in sugar milling industries. This substantially reduced the COD level of effluent by 80-90% after a 40 day period of anaerobic fermentation. Biogas production significantly increased and was stabilized at 16 liters daily within this period. The technology for biological treatment of tanning waste water using an Upflow Anaerobic Filter Reactor (ANFIL) and Trickling Filter (TF) was developed and tested. Most of the tanneries in Meycauayan, Bulacan benefited due to the systematic wastes management and control measures used which also contributed to the maintenance of the environmental quality. The technology for the extraction and purification of agar-agar obtained from Philippine agarose marine algae was developed. The refined product is highly competitive and comparable in quality to its counterpart expensive imported brand.