DOST-PTRI DEVELOPED 4 NEW SILKWORM HYBRIDS AND PARTNERS WITH SILK HUBS IN MINDANAO.
Silkworm rearing became fortuitous activity during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Cagayan de Oro. Aside from keeping the people productive while earning without the need to go out, it also provided means for a scientific activity to proceed and validate relevant silk-related information.
Four (4) new Philippine silkworm hybrids namely PTRI SW 107, 108, 109, and 110, which are from the DOST-PTRI’s Silk Research and Innovation Center (SRIC) in Misamis Oriental have been successfully reared by the pioneering Silk Cocoon Production Hubs (Silk Hubs). The presence of various hybrid silkworms means new strains of cocoon production for silk yarns and fabrics. As compared to the parent lines, these hybrids have higher productivity as they are mostly healthier, able to adapt to their environment and have better cocoon and shell weight. These silkworm hybrids came from the silk hybridization of Philippine Silkworm parent lines from the 85 lines in the PTRI Silk Germplasm also in the DOST-PTRI SRIC. Significantly, these performed better in terms of larval characteristics to cocoon properties in the lab-scale trials, which is why they were rolled out into the Silk Hubs to verify their performances.
Figure 1. New Philippine silkworm hybrids
The pioneering Silk Hubs are: 1) Tinipigan Agro-forestry Association, Inc. (TAFA Inc.) in Barangay Tagpangi, and 2) Cagayan de Oro (CDO) Resettlement and Socialized Housing Project IV (CDORSHP-IV) in Barangay Balubal. These groups were joined by two (2) other hubs manned by two silk cocoon producers, 3) Mrs. Florisa Docuyan of Barangay Ane-i and 4) Mr. Alfredo A. Ampo of Barangay Panampan (1,000 masl). The control set was reared at the PhilSilk Center serving as the fifth location. Generally, they are located in four different locations in Northern Mindanao, specifically in Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental. These locations established the performance of the hybrids as a function of altitude.
The hybrids completed the first out of three cycles of rearing in the field-verification stage. These cycles are important in order to have reliable data as to the consistency, grading, and classification of cocoons per location at different times. To classify the grade of silk cocoons, there parameters are considered, namely, single cocoon weight, cocoon shell percentage, and the live pupa ratio. These will be the basis for cocoons to be graded as Class AA, A, B, or C.
Figure 2. 1st batch of trainees during cocoon classification
Figure 3. 5th batch of trainees during feeding
For the first cycle, the group of women-silk rearers under CDORSHP-IV produced cocoons with 21% cocoon shell percentage and 1.62 g average cocoon weight. With only two parameters considered, it could have been classified as Class A, with the highest class of cocoon. However, the third parameter being the live pupae percentage, unfortunately dragged the rating to Class B. Considering that these Silk Hubs have just started, their succeeding live pupae percentage is expected to improve with proper management and experience. Grade A cocoons can be sold at P350/kg, while Grade AA will cost P400/kg providing a mechanism to foster good rearing practices to maximize cocoon quality and productivity.
Figure 4. CDORSHP members at mulberry field
There will be two more rearing activities in 2021 using the same hybrids in the same locations, which will provide additional information on the effect of the rearing climate. These will complete the field-verification activity before the hybrids will be officially launched for commercial use by the end of the year.
The silk innovation activities in Northern Mindanao are supported by the strong partnership of DOST-PTRI with the DOST-Misamis Oriental, Provincial Agriculture Office (PAGRO) Misamis Oriental, and CDO City Housing Urban Development Division of the CDO Local Government.