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Pesticide developed from ‘madre de cacao’

February 25, 2011

By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) Updated September 18, 2008 12:00 AM


SAN FERNANDO, La Union — A Filipino chemist here has developed an environment-friendly pesticide using the leaves of madre de cacao, locally known as kakawati.

A study done by Alfredo Rabena, a full-time professor at the University of Northern Philippines in Vigan City, found that kakawati leaves are good source of coumarins, a toxic substance that can kill almost all types of pests and insects.

Rabena said one kilogram of kakawati leaves, soaked in water overnight, can produce seven gallons of “botanopesticides” (botanical pesticides).

“The more leaves the more concentrate the pesticide is,” he said.

Rabena said he conducted the study in 1996 in collaboration with a Malaysian chemist, Dr. Nordin Lajiz, at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna.

“The three-year study found botanopesticides as effective pest control,” he said, adding the technology is being used by rice and vegetable farmers in eight municipalities in Ilocos Sur.

Rabena said he wants to provide Filipino farmers an alternative to commercial pesticide to lessen the cost of production.

He said the kakawati plant is endemic to tropical countries such as the Philippines.

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