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Six years after filing the application, the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) now sees the awarding of the invention patent on insecticide from Kakawate plant.

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Gliricidia sepium or Kakawate Plant
Photo Source: Starr Environmental

The invention patent covers the use of organic compounds from the plant Gliricidia sepium, or popularly known as Kakawate, as an effective insecticide. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) (https://www.ipophil.gov.ph/) patent database further states that the compounds can be used to repel insect and reduce oviposition in the field during mating season to the host plant. The use of organic chemical compounds from plants in pest management can help reduce the use of synthetic insecticides which is harmful to health and to the environment. This can also improve crop growth and avoid the spread of diseases by repelling insects.

This patent is an off-shoot of the project, “Volatile organic chemical profile of eggplant (Solanum melongena), tagbak (Kolowratia elegans), and kakawate (Gliricidia sepium) with implications to pest management of selected major pests of rice, eggplant, and tomato”, funded by the Council in 2012. This study investigated the volatile organic chemical profile of various eggplant varieties with varying susceptibilities to eggplant fruit shoot borer and relate the presence of these chemicals to oviposition preference of this major insect pest.[1] It also aimed to determine the volatile organic chemical profile of tagbak and kakawate to validate farmer knowledge on the usefulness of these plants in insect pest management in rice and tomato production.[2] The project was led by NRCP Member, Dr. Susan May Calumpang; together with Drs. Mario and Marcela Navasero, they are now accorded as the inventors of the insecticide from kakawate. The Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) was instrumental in filing the patent application of the technology.

“A patent is an exclusive right that allows the inventor to exclude others from making, using, or selling the product of his invention during the life of the patent,” states the IPO website.

Kakawate, also known as madre de cacao, is a leguminous tree which originated from Central America, and is used in many tropical and sub-tropical countries[3] as fences in agricultural lands because it grows easily and prevents top soil erosion. It is also used for intercropping because of its nitrogen-fixing property which increases crop yield without the need of chemical fertilizers.[4]

In the academic research setting, invention patent is a sign of novelty of research outputs. The NRCP is proud of its NRCP Members for being accorded as inventors of the insecticide from kakawate. This likewise marks a milestone achievement for the NRCP for being the owner of the patent and it opens up many possible opportunities for the Council, as well as the researchers, interested adoptors of the technology, and ultimately the farmers who will benefit from the kakawate insecticide.

In planning for the future developments of the technology, NRCP considers the potential benefits and risks associated in the possible commercialization of the technology and explore how this milestone can translate into an incentive for innovation.

In a recent meeting with representatives from the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) and the researchers/inventors, it was agreed that since the patent applied is for the lab scale evaluation on the use of organic compounds from Kakawate as an effective insecticide, further steps will be conducted. NRCP Executive Director Marieta Banez Sumagaysay said that a quick industry study, field testing, validation, and product development can be done.

“We will invite industry partners who will commit to adopt the technology, hence, provide farmers with an option for increasing productivity," Sumagaysay added.