By Jennylou Canon

PHOTO: Flip Science

Have you ever wondered about the strong roots of bean plants such as mungbean, peanut, and soybean?

It’s all thanks to Dr. Ricardo M. Lantican’s research, which paved the way for strengthening and enhancing the breeds of the aforementioned crops for healthier, disease-resistant growth.

Tracing the Roots: Dr. Lantican’s planted success

Dr. Lantican was born to a school officer and an elementary teacher, and learned the essence of agriculture at an early age.

He studied Agriculture at the University of the Philippines - Los Banos (UPLB) in 1954 and later took up a master’s degree in Crop Science from the North Carolina State College in 1956.

Dr. Lantican also finished his doctorate degree at Iowa State University in 1961 and marked the start of his blossoming legacy in agricultural sciences.

Growing Roots: Dr. Lantican’s crop innovations

Dr. Lantican has produced over 20 enhanced varieties of mungbean, soybean, and peanuts, acknowledging the importance of these leguminous crops as sources of protein.

He and his team developed the Pag-asa mungbean, which matures faster and produces a higher, consistent yield.

Furthermore, Tiwala soybean was also one of Lantican’s significant works, as he collaborated with UPLB researchers in order to produce a soybean resistant to rust disease, a condition that deforms plants and taints the infected crops with brownish spots.

Tiwala soybeans are also more flavorful and produce a higher yield as compared to regular soybeans.

Dr. Lantican also pioneered Biyaya peanuts, an improved peanut variant resistant to rust and leaf diseases, and produced a higher yield as compared to regular peanuts.

Stronger Roots: Dr. Lantican’s corn disease findings

On the year Dr. Lantican finished his doctorate degree, he co-wrote a study on a corn-destructing disease called the Southern corn leaf blight, which at that time affected many cornfields of UPLB.

Dr. Lantican’s work showed that infected crops had a certain “T-cytoplasm trait,” a trait that gives affected crops vulnerability which makes them susceptible to Helminthosporium maydis, the fungus that caused Southern corn leaf blight.

This research wasn’t known years after it had been published until the Southern corn leaf blight affected the United States of America’s (USA) cornfields and caused losses amounting to billions of dollars.

Bountiful Harvest: Dr. Lantican’s legacy in the Philippine Agriculture

His crop-saving efforts surely paid off as Dr. Lantican was hailed as a National Scientist in 2005, recognizing his efforts in the field of agriculture.

Dr. Lantican was also recognized worldwide, earning awards and fellowships inside and outside the country.

He is also active in the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and continues to pave the way for the advancement of science and technology in the country.

Dr. Lantican’s bright future in the field of agriculture has been seen during his young age, and sure enough, the roots he had planted in the field led him to earn a bountiful harvest, and become one of the well-known names not just in agriculture, but throughout the country as well.