In Greek mythology, Gaea is a goddess personifying the earth. In popular culture, as evident in some fictional works, Gaea is seen as the embodiment of the Mother Earth. A bountiful harvest, the spirit of life, and fertility are the most common associations attributed to Gaea.
To call someone a goddess is perhaps an extreme form of flattery. But if that someone is “an eminent figure in the elite circle of local biotechnology,” a famous agriculture biotechnologist, and “one of the country’s best DNA experts,” it is not too much of a stretch to call Dr. Saturnina Halos a modern Gaea.
In 2002, Dr. Saturnina Halos developed Vital NTM, a biofertilizer that enhances the growth of crops, such as corn, banana, rice, and onion. Vital NTM, unlike any other fertilizer in the market, is able to produce higher yields and thus bigger profits in a matter of days. It is also cheap and easy to use since a pack of Vital NTM only costs Php 250. That’s about 120 grams of Vital NTM for every hectare or 0.01 square kilometers, compared to the usual four 50-kg bags of organic and inorganic fertilizer needed to fertilize the same area of a rice field.
Currently, Dr. Halos divides her time as a senior Agriculture Science Consultant for the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Research and as a business woman overseeing the operations of Amichem Corp. Her previous work experience consisted of numerous teaching stints for some of the country’s top universities. “Interpreting DNA evidence in disputed percentage cases” and “The Philippine genetic database of Short Tandem Repeats (STR) in DNA-based paternity testing,” were some of the articles she wrote that were featured in the Philippine Journal of Science and J Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Sources: ► www.dnaforensic.org/staff/saturnina_halos/halos3.html ► Felix, Rocel C. Dr. Saturnina Halos: Scientist steps out of her comfort zone to become an entrepreneur. www.aseanbiotechnology.info/News/24001188.htm ► Fresco, Mary Charlotte O. Enhance the vitality of roots with Vital NTM. www.bar.gov.ph/bardigest/2002/janmar02_crops_enhance.asp