Serve and Protect: A Microparticle to Fight Malnutrition

Look

brown sphere covered in smaller purple spheres

Ruojie Zhang, Shahad Alsiari, David Mankus, Margaret Bisher, Abigail Lytton- Jean, Robert Langer, Ana Jaklenec

Read

brown sphere covered in smaller purple spheres

Ruojie Zhang, Shahad Alsiari, David Mankus, Margaret Bisher, Abigail Lytton- Jean, Robert Langer, Ana Jaklenec
Koch Institute at MIT

Malnutrition impacts nearly 2 billion people worldwide. The Jaklenec and Langer Labs are applying their drug design and delivery expertise to encapsulate vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in microparticles.

A polymer coating (green) stabilizes the micronutrients and protects them from heat degradation—a common side effect in cooking. The starch (purple) on the outside makes the particle more “flowable,” facilitating its incorporation into foodstuffs such as flour or bouillon cubes. Upon digestion, the particles break down, allowing the stable nutrients to be absorbed into the body.

Watch

Ruojie Zhang presents the story behind her award-winning image.