Researcher Diary: The search for local sources of tannin in the Philippines

04.04.2023 The latest Researcher Diary comes from Vincent Neveu, who did his BSc in Forestry at BFH-HAFL and was then employed for two months on the Pinoy Tannin project.

Researcher Diaries: Assorted Tannin piles Agrandir l'image

As part of my field assignment, I participated in the first phase of the Pinoy Tannin project, where the team carried out a screening for suitable local sources of tannins in the Philippines.  

Tannin is a natural substance present, to different extents, in various plants and biomasses. Traditionally it is used for leather tanning and can be used as an industrial, natural substitute for chemical wood adhesives. 

Together with the Pinoy Tannin project team, we selected potential tannin sources among biomasses that were usually left to decay in the fields or used as firewood.

Unique approach

The bark of 21 tree species widely planted in the Philippines and the husks, shells, spikelets and roots of diverse coconut varieties were collected, and extracted with hot water at the local laboratory. 

This screening represents a unique and important contribution to the international scientific literature on tannin extraction, reporting a wide comparison among potential tannin sources commonly growing in Southeast Asia. It includes the analysis of never-before-investigated tree species. 

Overall, the results show that suitable tannin sources have been successfully identified in the Philippines. An analysis of the production capacity and costs to identify the market potential of the local tannins has also been carried out.  

The project involved BFH-AHB and BFH-HAFL teams in cooperation with Philippine institutions – the Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST FPRDI), the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and Visayas State University College of Agriculture and Food Science (VSUCAFS) – in the context of the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d).

Researcher Diaries

The Researcher Diaries series provides photo snapshots and testimonials from researchers and students participating in BFH-HAFL and partner projects in the field all over the world.

Rubrique: Recherche