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MIT discovery tackles malnutrition

Around two billion people worldwide don’t get enough nutrition: deficiencies which are costing the lives of two million children every year. This grim reality could be about to change though, thanks to a new breakthrough by MIT researchers.

In a bid to fill staple foods with essential nutrients, such as iron and vitamin A, the MIT team has pioneered a method that involves ‘encapsulating them in a biocompatible polymer’ inside products like bread in a way that keeps them active.

“We are really excited that our team has been able to develop this unique nutrient-delivery system that has the potential to help billions of people in the developing world, and taken it all the way from inception to human clinical trials,” explained Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.

Work is already underway to secure ‘approval from the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives’. While the other senior author on this study, Koch Institute research scientist, Ana Jaklenec, said the next step is to roll out the study in a country suffering serious levels of nutritional deficiencies.

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