The Western Mindanao State University – College of Science and Mathematics is a recipient of a gas chromatograph which was donated by the Wageningen University, the Netherlands. This was learned from WMSU-CSM dean Dr. Marilou Elago in an interview.
Dr. Elago revealed that the instrument, which was received on December 9 by WMSU, could have been transported from the International Port, Manila to Zamboanga City earlier this year if not for some documentary discrepancies. It was already included in the list of “abandoned shipment” in the Bureau of Customs. It was the then Deputy District Collector of Customs for Operations at the Manila International Port, Atty. James Enriquez, a Zamboangueño, who facilitated the lifting of the “abandonment status” of the shipment; its transport to Zamboanga City; and its subsequent release by the local Bureau of Customs at no cost on the part of the University.
In deep gratitude for his help, WMSU honored Atty. Enriquez, who happens to be an alumnus of the College of law, WMSU, with a Plaque of Recognition during the formal turn-over of the equipment held at WMSU-CSM on December 18.
Prof. Concepcion Remoroza of the Chemistry Department, WMSU-CSM who is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in chemistry at the Wageningen University, made possible the donation of the chromatograph.
The equipment is very valuable in enhancing the quality of instruction especially in the Chemistry Department, according to Prof. Sheela Yahcob-Saddalani CSM Analytical Laboratory Coordinator, in a separate interview.
A chromatograph, she said, is used to read responses of volatile elements. Volatile elements are those which have quick vaporizing properties like alcohol, perfumes and some foods, to name a few, she explained.
According to Prof. Saddalani, Zamboanga City, being the sardines capital of the country, can benefit much from this equipment in terms of content analysis of sample sardines, which is a requirement of the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD). The gas chromatograph can also help food processing businesses in determining the nutritional contents of a certain food product, she added.
Furthermore, according to Prof. Amyra Muhammad, who is a specialist in toxicology and forensic chemistry, the gas chromatograph can likewise be used to determine the presence of toxic substances in food, crime scene materials and the like, which may have caused death, in instances of suspected poisoning; as well as ascertain the possible presence of toxic substances in the debris of a crime scene in possible arson cases. The gas chromatograph could be vital in certain natural science researches, Prof. Saddalani concluded. (Evelyn C. Luceño, PAO-WMSU)