Getting to Know Dr. Coke Montaño

By Mr. West Paraiso

Dr. Marco Nemesio Montaño has devoted his career working on seaweeds since 1977 as a research associate at the Marine Science Institute, UP Diliman, until today as Full Professor of the same institute. He obtained his PhD in Biological Chemistry from Griffith University in Australia where he worked on isolation and characterization of secondary metabolites from marine organisms.

Dr. Montaño specializes in marine natural products, algal polysaccharides, and marine pollution chemistry. He has written numerous journal and technical articles on extraction technologies and physicochemical and spectroscopic characterization of algal polysaccharides such as agar and carrageenan and ecotoxicity studies on marine organisms. He has also co-authored several books such as Agar Processing and Characterization, Philippine Seaweeds as Bioremediation Agents, Primer on Farming and Strain Selection of Kappaphycus and Eucheuma in the Philippines, and The Seaweed Resources of the Philippines. He is also involved in product development from seaweeds, one such product with approved patent and trademark is Seamoy, a seaweed-based, low-cost air freshener gel.

Dr. Montaño has held various administrative positions and committee memberships both inside and outside UP, including Deputy Directorships at MSI and a membership in the Technical Committee on Marine Science Education of CHED. He is also at present the Editor-in-chief of ScienceDiliman. Dr. Montaño has recently been awarded the prestigious PRC Outstanding Professional of the Year Award for Chemistry.

He continues to be the torch-bearer of Philippine marine algal chemistry research and is currently heading several government-funded projects such as improvement of seaweed post-harvest and carrageenan extraction technology, characterization and development of new red algal polysaccharide and oligosaccharide food and pharmaceutical products, bench-scale production of fucoidan from Philippine brown seaweeds for mariculture and medicinal applications, and screening for quorum sensing-inhibitory compounds from selected Philippine marine algae and surface-associated marine microorganisms.

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