Maria Ylagan-Orosa was a pioneering food technologist and inventor.
Orosa studied in the United States as a pharmaceutical-chemist and food-chemist. She returned to the Philippines in 1922, and taught home economics at Centro Escolar University. A year later, she transferred to the Bureau of Science as chemist. In 1923, she helped organize the food preservation division under the Bureau of Science and in 1927 she became the acting division head.
In 1928 the government sent her to various countries to specialize in food processing and canning. When she returned to the Philippines in 1929, she was appointed head of the home economics division of the Bureau of Science and in 1933, she became the head of the bureau’s food preservation division.
The most notable of her food inventions was “Soyalac,” a powdered preparation of soya-beans, which helped save the lives of thousands of Filipinos, Americans, and other nationals held prisoners in different Japanese concentration camps during World War II.
She also produced the “calamansi nip” the desiccated and powdered form of the fruit which could be made into juice. She is also credited with the making of the banana ketchup; vinegar from pineapples; banana starch; soyamilk; banana flour; cassava flour; as well as the invention of rice cookies, known as ricebran or darak, which is effective in the treatment of patients with beri-beri.
Orosa was killed during fighting between the Japanese and American liberating forces, being twice hit by shrapnel, first whilst working and again whilst she was receiving emergency treatment at the hospital.
29 November 1893
to 13 February 1945
Great Filipinos, Birth Centenary
#2240d, 10 Jun 1993
part of a se-
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