The establishment of the pilot plant as manufacturing facility for Hormogroe will accelerate the transition of the production of the locally developed technology from laboratory scale to at least semi-commercial scale. With this, we are moving steps away from ‘doing research for academic and promotional purposes’ and moving forward to ‘doing research to address the challenges of the farming communities’. In line with SEARCA’s ATTAIN, this project aims to contribute to agriculture and rural development through providing a locally developed solution that can increase the yields and profits of the farmers. With the pilot plant, we will be able to produce more, resulting to more farmers benefiting from the use of Hormogroe.
The FASTRAC research grant will cover the equipment and materials that will be used for the manufacturing of Hormogroe, as well as the compensation of the researchers and staff that will be working. The grant, however, does not cover the construction of the pilot plant that will house the operations. Hence, this proposal is requesting for funds for the construction of the pilot plant.
The pilot plant will be built at the UPLB Science and Technology Park. The location is ideal for Hormogroe production since the technology was developed in UPLB. Likewise, the group hopes to avail of other government programs that support spin-offs of local innovations.
The production process of the different HormoGroe® Plant Growth Regulators (Auxin, Gibberellic Acid, and Cytokinin) can be categorized in to three (3) main steps (as illustrated in Figure 3), namely: (1) hormone production, (2) hormone extraction, and (3) encapsulation.
The hormones used in HormoGroe® Plant Growth Regulators are produced by incubating locally isolated bacteria in specific mediums to promote the production of the target hormone. After incubation, the hormones produced will be extracted thru liquid-liquid extraction using an organic solvent (either ethyl acetate or butanol, depending on the hormone being produced). The extract will be concentrated thru a vacuum evaporator, and the media used in the incubation process will be decontaminated before disposal. In addition, the organic solvents that will be used in the extraction processes will be recovered and reused. Lastly, the concentrated extract will be encapsulated and nanoformulated to improve its efficacy upon field application.