Zambia

Nutrasorb-Zambia Project

 

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Developed and refined with recent support from two federal agencies – NIH NIDDKD and USDA NIFA – a unique functional food technology has now been recreated as a biofortification strategy for the developing world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Nutrasorb-Zambia Project is developing and validating an innovative, portable and highly stable protein-rich food source (fortified with bioactive fruit constituents and comprised of locally-available produce) to enable year-round healthy growth and development of undernourished mothers and children in Zambia and to establish the scientific foundations, network, and infrastructure to support subsequent technology transfer to facilitate sustainable regional implementation of the program in partnership with universities, entrepreneurs and government in Zambia. At least two billion people in the world suffer from poor nutrition with children and pregnant women being particularly vulnerable. Starchy diets deficient in proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables are a major factor, which contributes to morbidity and mortality in the developing world.

A team of scientists from North Carolina State University, Rutgers University, and Nutrasorb LLC as developed a simple and cost effective process that naturally concentrates beneficial phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables into protein-rich foods in amounts sufficient to promote health and wellness. Nutrasorb LLC agreed to provide Zambia with a no-cost license for this technology. The innovative Nutrasorb process uses an edible, low-cost and high-protein, legume-based flour, which can be easily produced from traditional legume crops. When mixed, under defined conditions, with ground or juiced fruits and vegetables, the flour functions as a natural and edible ‘sponge’ that sorbs, concentrates and preserves beneficial natural products (such as flavonoids, other polyphenols and some vitamins) from perishable and seasonal loeal produce.

Nutrasorb technology is green and environmentally friendly, generating no waste or pollution. As a result, highly nutritious, non-perishable, tasty, protein-rich and naturally fortified ingredients are produced. These locally manufactured ingredients can be added to a wide variety of traditional foods throughout the year, increasing their nutritional value. They can also be transported to local processing centers and converted into foods for wider sale and distribution. The Nutrasorb process significantly reduces the cost of delivering phytonutrients and enriches the diets of people in need of better nutrition without significantly altering their cooking habits and dietary customs.

Our goal is to further develop and deploy Nutrasorb technology to the developing world using the worldwide infrastructure and extensive partnerships established by the Global Institute for BioExploration (www.gibex.org). GIBEX is a global research and development network, which promotes ethical, natural product-based R&D for the benefit of human health and nutrition. GIBEX scientists from Rutgers and NCSU played a major role in developing Nutrasorb technology. GIBEX has established close working relationships with many universities and governmental agencies in developing countries interested in bringing Nutrasorb technology and products to local communities, and in adapting this technology to locally grown crops.