Team:Northwestern

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Revision as of 20:07, 2 August 2012

description

Vitamin and mineral deficiency is a serious health concern that affects a vast amount of the world’s population. Surprisingly, this deficiency is not always due to a lack of nutrients in the diet but rather due to the low bioavailability (and thus poor absorption) of those nutrients. Specifically, according to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency affects over 30% of the world’s population and affects more people than any other condition in the world. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, general ill-health, and premature death. Click here to access the World Health Organization page on iron deficiency.

Iron and other nutrients are not available in the food we eat due to molecules known as chelators. Chelators bind to nutrients rendering them unavailable for the body to use. Our project focuses on breaking down the strongest and most prevalent chelator of iron in foods: phytic acid (phytate). Phytic acid is naturally broken down by enzymes known as phytases.

We aim to build a system to directly deliver phytase to the digestive system in order to increase the bioavailability of iron.

schools