Malunggay, dilis help fight malnutrition, SLSU developed highly marketable Malunggay Powder and Dilis Flour

September 28, 2020

Amid the threats of Covid-19, malunggay and ‘dilis’ is turning out to be a “go to” for nutrition as the Southern Luzon State University (SLSU) has developed a highly marketable Malunggay Powder and Dilis Flour (MPDF).

   The SLSU in Tagkawayan, Quezon has developed the MPDF which is now a product deemed as highly marketable under the Technology and Investment Profiles (TIP) monograph series published by Southeast Asian Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).  The project is funded by the Bureau of Agriculture Research (BAR).

   Results showed that the malunggay products have met the parameters for each tool to be identified as a financially viable investment project.

   The SEARCA- feasibility study of MPDF used cash flow analysis, net present value, benefit-cost ratio, and financial internal rate return.

   SEARCA Director Glenn M. Gregorio said that SEARCA is now actively promoting technology-based innovations among local enterprises.  This is under SEARCA’s 11th Five-Year Plan focused on Accelerating Transformation Though Agricultural Innovation (ATTAIN) program.

   The experts said MPDF technology can be used as food ingredient in many dishes and as flavoring to various food delicacies including ham, longganisa, tapa, sausage, pork-fish siomai, kropek, macaroni soup, porridge, polvoron, squash cake, ensaymada, pizza pie, toge, tart, and hotcake, among others. With this, it aims to increase home consumption of inexpensive yet highly nutritious food.

   The project was led by Dorris N. Gatus, project leader;  Veronica Aurea A. Rufo, project coordinator; and Nemia C. Pelayo, technical adviser.

   It also targets to create livelihood opportunities for residents and non-residents of Tagkawayan, Quezon, Philippines

   The authors of the TIP said that the technology’s market and use extends from feeding programs of school children, bakers from five municipalities in Quezon Province with high incidence of malnutrition (i.e., Tiaong, Catanuan, Dolores, Quezon, and Mulanay), and local restaurants.

   Its target consumers include other institutional buyers (e.g., bakeshops, eateries, restaurants, hotel establishments, and hospitals); entrepreneurs who are engaged in food processing business enterprises; households, particularly those with lactating mothers and malnourished children; vegetarians, especially those suffering from anemia; and government agencies implementing feeding programs.

   Many times richer in vitamin-C, malunggay (Moringa oleifera) is being touted as “better than cure” as it may help prevent many other diseases.  It has been known that fresh malunggay leaves haves seven times the vitamin C of orange, 4 times the vitamin A of carrots, and 4 times the calcium of milk.

   This popular vegetable is part of the Filipino diet for generations.  ‘Tinolang manok’, chicken cooked in papaya will not be complete without malunggay leaves.  For Ilocanos, the leaves of the malunggay and its pods are perfect when cooked with other vegetables and fish.  Those who know this often has a malunggay tree beside their house.    

   Some are now using malunggay powder to fortify the all-time favorite pan de sal. Malunggay’s use has been promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a low-cost health enhancer in poor countries around the globe.

   Millions of Filipinos, particularly children, are suffering from undernourishment and malnutrition not just because of hunger and poverty, but also because of poor diet and eating habits.  Access to nutritious food has also been identified as the reason for this alarming health concern.

   Meanwhile, dilis or Philippine anchovy, more known in its dried fish form, is abundant in the market.  While they are quite popular among the older generation, they are not a hit to the young ones.

   Like malunggay, dilis—a small, common saltwater forage fish—has been identified as rich in protein and other minerals and vitamins with high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Specifically, anchovies are a good source of minerals, including calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and sodium. Moreover, anchovies are rich in vitamins such as B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12), vitamins A, C, E, and K.

   The SEARCA-published monograph on technology of malunggay products may be downloaded for free from the SEARCA website:  


   Dilis, according to BAR, paper, can is a flavouring for “sauces, salad dressings, pasta, and pizza.”  It is also a snack for the native Filipino.

   SLSU Professor Doris Gatus said sensory analysis and consumer acceptability studies have already been conducted for the MPDF. The product has also been tested in

 school feeding activities to supplement children’s nutritional requirement and intake.

    Recommended ratio for the product mix (maluggay to dilis) is 1:1, 3:1, and 3:2 (depending on the use)

   “One kilogram of fresh malunggay leaves can produce 300g malunggay-powder and 1kg. dilis (utilizing the fleshy part) can likewise produce 100g dilis powder,” said Gatus.

   Through the program,  Filipinos in rural areas are hoped to improve their productivity and while increasing home consumption of  the highly-nutritious yet inexpensive MPDF.

   “For every 100 grams of dilis flour fortified with malunggaypowder, the following nutritional values can be achieved: carbohydrates (3 percent), protein (5 percent), vitamin A (40 percent), vitamin C (2 percent), calcium (40 percent), and iron 10 (percent),” said Gatus.

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