By Alexander Villafania
LOS BANOS, LAGUNA – After developing a type of corn flour with high lysine content, a plant breeder from the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) has turned it into pandesal, a nutritious version of the Filipino breakfast staple.
Artemio Salazar, deputy director of the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB-UPLB), said the pandesal uses Quality Protein Maize (QPM) flour, which has lysine, an essential amino acid.
The flour is based from white corn that is a staple food in some regions in Visayas and Mindanao due to its abundance.
The IPB-UPLB is also propagating white corn as an alternative means to wheat flour. White corn is a slow-release carbohydrate food, which burns slower than rice. Research at the IPB-UPLB showed that it has low glycemic count, which makes it viable for athletes, diabetics, and weight watchers.
The lysine-enriched pandesal, called BoscBread, is already being marketed by BoscEnterprises of the Salesians of Don Bosco and is sold at the Don Bosco Habitat Center (DBHC) in Calauan, Laguna.
At least 1,200 pieces of the special pandesal is made every day. About 800 of these are sold to residents while another 400 are given out to children from poor families as part of their health and nutrition program.
The BoscBread pandesal costs P1 to P2 a piece. However the group also sells other bread types like Spanish bread and pan de coco at P3 to P5 each.
Three pieces of BoscBread is estimated to provide 25 percent of a child's daily nutrition needs, especilly lysine and another amino acid, tryptophan.
Salazar said the IPB-UPLB supplies the DBHC with with 20 kilos of the QPM flour every day to test it for viable products. The test is done prior to commercial launch and selling it to the private sector. So far, the white corn flour can be used for other bread types, even cakes, without changing the flavor.
Salazar hopes that the adoption of white corn flour among Filipinos increases especially since it is a locally made product.
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