'Tahong' as cosmetics? DOST-PCAARRD proves it's not just for food

Published May 25, 2022, 4:10 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Due to economic losses caused by the perennial harmful algal blooms (HABs) like the commonly-known “red tide”, research on non-food applications of mussels was sought, leading to the discovery of “tahong” cosmetics.

(Photo from UPV-Tacloban Mussel Research Team)

The project, “Extraction and Utilization of Mussel Glycogen under the Mussel Biotechnology Program” was implemented by the University of The Philippines Visayas – Tacloban Campus, in collaboration with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

The project made use of green mussel (Perna viridis) which is seen as one of the emerging aquatic commodities poised to contribute to the economic output of the fisheries sector in the country.

Through the project, food grade mussel glycogen extracts were utilized in the development of cosmetic products. Two other mussels, black mussel (Mytella strigata) and the brown mussel (Modiolus philippinarum) were included in the study.

Cosmetic products (cream, ointment, and soap) from food grade glycogen extracts and a laboratory grade glycogen for biotechnology purposes were formulated. The lab-grade glycogen was proven to be effective as a carrier in nucleic acid extraction when used in standard PCR techniques.

DOST-PCAARRD said that ti support the project in terms of its marketability, a feasibility study on the market operations (production, organization, management) of the developed glycogen found that it is feasible to manufacture this product. Results of the financial analysis are very encouraging with the 193.95 percent Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and 1.70 Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR).

“The IRR is the expected growth rate of an investment per year while the BCR is the correlation of the relative costs versus the benefits of a proposed project in which a value greater than 1.0 will mean a positive net present value,” it added.

Through the project, DOST-PCAARRD looks to aid the fisherfolk as HABs displace them for months and recorded economic losses reach P250 million per occurrence of HAB. In the province of Samar in Region VIII alone, P49 million is derived annually from the ‘tahong’ industry.