UST-RCNAS Researchers Tour Herbanext Facilities

Dr. Christina Binag and colleagues touring the Herbanext Herbarium

As part of the company’s thrust to actively engage with the academic community, Herbanext Laboratories last April 4-6, 2011 hosted an educational tour for researchers of the University of Santo Tomas Research Cluster for the Natural and Applied Sciences (UST-RCNAS). The group, a total of 43 scientists headed by Dr. Cristina Binag, were in Bacolod for their annual research meeting which was held at The Quiet Place Farm Resort where the Herbanext Research Farm is located. The researchers were given a special tour around the company’s herbarium and were allowed to taste a variety of interesting medicinal herbs such as the stevia, roselle, holy basil, gotu kola, and the king of bitters. The group visited the herb processing plant and toured the organic waste recycling area where earthworms and rabbits are being raised as part of the company’s zero waste management program. The researchers were also made to participate in a sensory evaluation test conducted by Food Technology students of UP Visayas for a new line of “herb cooler” products. The highlight of the educational tour was a Plant visit on the second day to the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Bago City.

Dr. Mafel Ysrael along with other visitors from RCNAS sampling a spray dried extract of native ginger from Negros

Dr. Maribel Nonato demonstrating to Herbanext staff improved techniques for using TLC

The group was toured by Herbanext President Philip S. Cruz who was earlier invited to visit the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex of UST. Of particular interest to the visiting researchers, many of whom are working on natural products, was the company’s dedicated extraction and spray drying facility for medicinal plants which is already producing extracts of lagundi, banaba, balbas pusa, tawa-tawa, among several other local herbs. On their last day in Bacolod, UST College of Science Dean Dr. Maribel Nonato gave a half day lecture to Herbanext QC Personnel on various quantitative and qualitative tests for standardization of extracts and discussed on advanced analytical methods where UST may be able to assist. The possibility of conducting collaborative work on common areas of interests that would promote the advancement of the Philippine herbal industry is currently being explored by both parties.