Utility models that can help farmers and agriculturists address soil fertility and production of eco-friendly wound dressing from banana peel have been granted to Philippine Science High School – Central Visayas Campus (PSHS-CVisC).

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) awarded the three registered utility models to PSHS-CVisC on March 30, as part of the intensified campaign for intellectual property right protection for the PSHS System.

These registered utility models are System for Determining N-P-K Concentration and Ratio in Soil, Organic Cellulose Nanofibers Wound Dressing, and Method of Producing Organic Cellulose Nanofibers.

Raphael David B. Condor, Kyra Jillian L. Namor, Avi Conerose Therese S. Malana, and Dr. Benito A. Baje made the utility models.

According to Dr. Baje who teaches physics, innovation is one of the 21st century skills that we need to develop among the Filipino youth.

“In PSHS we encourage and empower our scholars to create simple devices and products that will help our country. At the same time, they develop their ability to translate theories learned in the classroom into valuable and tangible application that will benefit the Philippines in one way or another” Baje said.

Their applications for intellectual property were also supported by DOST- Technology Application and Promotion Institute.

“As a teacher, I am happy to develop innovation among my students by imparting to them the knowledge I have,” Baje added.

Soil fertility

The System for Determining N-P-K Concentration and Ratio in Soil is a portable device that can conduct soil nutrients analyses to extract three major soil macronutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), based on captured color and tint data.

The utility model is better than the hand-held devise existing in the market which only provides qualitative color changes of N, P, K determination. It has three main features: (1) a color sensor for capturing color and tint of the test solutions, (2) a processing device for determining N, P, and K concentration and N-P-K ratio based on the captured color and tint data, and (3) a display device for displaying the determined NP-K concentration and N-P-K ratio.

Moreover, it can help farmers determine soil quality. Knowing their concentration in soils can inform agriculturists and environmental scientists of appropriate interventions to help increase plant yield and quality. Through its chromatic aberration sensor, the device can help determine when to provide nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which are essential for vegetative growth and overall good health for plants. Consequently, identifying soil fertility may result in economic benefits for the farming industry.
Eco-friendly wound dressing

The Organic Cellulose Nanofibers Wound Dressing is a utility model to develop a wound dressing comprising organic cellulose nanofibers from banana peel. The organic cellulose nanofiber antibacterial component may also be accompanied by other antibacterial materials or agents that may exhibit synergistic quick wound healing effects.

The wound dressing product of the present utility model may take the form of hydrocolloid dressings, gel dressings, films, adhesive bandages, foam dressings, and fabric dressings. Likewise, this utility model is eco-friendly as it uses fibrous organic materials, such as agriculture waste, as well as, wood and pulp processing by-products.

Nanofiber production

As a utility model, the Method of Producing Organic Cellulose Nanofibers can develop a method for producing cellulose nanofibers for wound dressing and healing applications. The method involves the preparation of organic cellulose resource like banana peel that will undergo treatment by soaking it in a solution during the steam-explosion treatment.

The method also involves bleaching, hydrolyzing or breaking down by chemical reaction with water, washing, suspending, and stirring the suspended cellulose fiber through a magnetic stirrer.

Innovation education

“Schools, not only Pisay, should stimulate the interest of students to be innovative and creative. They should veer away from traditional way of teaching science and technology to motivate and inspire students to pursue STEM courses in college and eventually help the country improve through science,” said Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña in an interview.

According to dela Peña, high school is where student’s inclination to STEM can be deepened.

“We need to ignite and support the development of innovation and creativity among Filipino students. We should train them to be problem solvers,” said de la Peña.

Also, dela Peña said that exposure and interactions with Filipino innovators will also help inspire students to value science and technology and maybe pursue S&T careers.

 “Young people should be observant and participative. They should keep their eyes open on things where improvements can be done and where science and technology will be the key solutions to problems,” said de la Peña.

According to PSHS System Executive Director Lilia Habacon, the Pisay brand of STEM education translates into concrete innovation initiatives contributing to national significance.

“From 2018-2019, the Pisay has secured intellectual property rights composed of 78 patents, inventions, industrial designs, copyrights, utility models, and processes. With 57 other intellectual property rights ongoing applications on process to this date, PISAY shall have more contributions towards the Philippines’ improved Global Innovation Index,” said Habacon.

The Global Innovation Index is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.

In 2020, the Philippines ranked 50th among the 131 economies and 4th among the 29 lower middle-income group economies.

The PSHS System and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines have forged an alliance to work together to champion the significance of intellectual property. This is a relevant partnership that aims to work towards the development of a full intellectual property academic curriculum for PSHS.

“With the help of IPOPHL, the Pisay shall be guided judiciously to achieve copyrights, trademarks, and patents for the protection of its students’ intellectual assets that may be integral to the core productivity of the academic institution and their overall long-term viability. This alliance may give way to economic benefits by translating hard work and ingenuity into profitable returns,” said Habacon.

Smart farming

In 2020, three students of PSHS-CVisC also received their patent for their smart farming invention called the Multi-Purpose Interconnected Transceiver Apparatus (MITs) which is now being considered for DOST funding for community technology use.

The invention’s best feature is the fact that it does not require internet connection to operate. Thus, MITs can drive technology adoption, eventually economic growth, in rural areas where the internet accessibility is low and connectivity is intermittent.

Equipped with a global positioning system (GPS), the apparatus of this system gathers and shows information transmitted from different devices for tracking the weather conditions in a specific environment and finding the location of at least one user.

Weather monitoring technology can help farmers decide better on pesticide application, irrigation, and prevention of diseases, leading to lower input costs and higher crop yields.


(Aries N. Oliveros, Executive Assistant)