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Vol. XXVI, 3rd Quarter
July –September 2008

PTRI silkworm genetic resources bolster silk industry in Luzon

A stable supply of Philippine Textile Research Institute’s commercial silkworm hybrids is helping accelerate the silk industry in Luzon particularly in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Region I, and IV. 

The combined dry silkworm cocoon production of these regions over the last five years ranked second in the country’s total cocoon production. Western Visayas topped all producers.

Silkworm egg is considered as the backbone of the silk industry since this material serves as seed for cocoon production and eventual raw silk or silk yarn production.   

PTRI has established the country’s oldest and largest silkworm germplasm bank that spawned the first Filipino commercial silkworm hybrids in the early 1980s.  It has since then become the major source of commercial hybrid silkworm eggs suitable for highland and lowland agro-climatic conditions. 

In 1993-2003, the Department of Agriculture’s Fiber Industry Development Authority accounted for 41.26% of PTRI’s silkworm egg distribution, and the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University’s Sericulture Research and Development Institute followed at 10.05%. 

Recently, PTRI has provided almost 100% of FIDA’s silkworm egg requirement for its farmer-cooperators.  The swell in cocoon production in Luzon is partly attributed to availability of PTRI’s high yielding and quality eggs.

silkworm

By the end of 2007, PTRI’s silkworm germplasm bank has a total of 140 breeds through continuous breeding, collection, and maintenance


Two PTRI technology centers in Benguet and Misamis Oriental are set to acclimatize improved silkworm hybrids to various Philippine conditions. There are currently seven commercial hybrids in use while 10 more hybrids are ready for commercialization. 

PTRI maintains close links with Benguet State University in La Trinidad, Benguet for its seed cocoon production. The arrangement enables the PTRI to sufficiently supply the country’s present and near future commercial hybrid egg requirement.

Through PTRI’s silkworm breeding and egg production R&D, the country’s silk industry is assured of stable supply of quality and adaptable silkworm hybrids.