Joachim Loo of Nanyang Technical University in Singapore will develop techniques to encapsulate micronutrients such as iron for food fortification using okara, which is a nutritionally-rich pulp that is made as a wasted by-product during the production of soybean products. Micronutrient malnutrition affects two billion people globally. Providing micronutrients in the diet is difficult because they are unstable by themselves, and so need some form of protection, for example by encapsulating them in a stable, digestible material. Okara is produced in large quantities during the production of soybean products like tofu and soya milk, leading to high environmental and economic costs for disposal. They will determine whether okara can be repurposed as an encapsulation material for micronutrients by developing and testing drying and sterilization methods and designing protocols to encapsulate vitamin A and iron. They will then evaluate the ability of the okara microcapsules to release bioactive micronutrients when exposed to artificial gastric and intestinal fluids.
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