M3 Features

IIT-Kharagpur develops food in a tube for malnourished kids


March 19, 2014

"In rural India, 55% children in that age bracket are severely malnourished, while it is 45% in the urban population. This problem is not only in India but an alarming scene in many developing and developed countries. According to a joint UN report, 15% of these afflicted children require med attention. The remaining 85% can be treated with diet therapy. It was in this context that we developed this product that will provide nutrition to these children to fight the disease," said Dr H N Mishra, professor at IIT-Kgp's agricultural and food engineering department.

"The system of these children is weak an they can't take regular food like normal children. It had to be palatable, easily digestible for the children and hygienic. The research proposal was floated by the Centre's department of biotechnology in 2011. What was unique in this proposal was that they wanted industry participation to ensure final research is translated into a real product. Many research ideas were submitted, evaluated by a committee. Our proposal was cleared. IIT-Kgp was involved in research and development, processing, packaging, storage, quality evaluation and also establishing a pilot scale unit to demarcate the product and technology development," he explained.

The paste needs to be put in the child's mouth and needs no dilution. There's no need to remove the product from the flexi pouch either. There have been five formulations on three foodstuff - peanuts, potato and Bengal gram.

Mishra added: "100gm of this paste can provide 500-550 kcalorie. The dosage will vary from child-to-child. Regular children can also have it but not as a proper meal. The next step is to broaden the scope of this product, which we'll take up after the pilot project of 100kg/day automated production unit is final by June."

Danie Shajie, an IIT-Kgp senior research fellow who was part of the team along with Rakesh Kumar Raigar, research associate, said: "The children with severe acute malnutrition are outpatients, and this product can maintain their nutrition level. It will also aide AIDS patients whose immunity has been compromised. Since the product is for low income groups, the pricing is low, Rs 50-60 per kg, with a shelf-life of two years." It's entirely organic with no additives or artificial preservatives, he added.

"It sounds like a useful concept. According to the latest ICMAR recommended dietary allowance table, the calorie requirement for children of 6-12 months is 80kcal/kg body weight. Normally at that age, the weight is 12-14 kg in average. For 1-3 years it is 1060 kcal/day, and for 4-6 years it is 1350kcal/day," said Swagata Mukherjee , senior dietician, Ruby General Hospital.

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Comments (2)
Satarupa Reply
March 19, 2014
This is a very welcome development, considering the malnutrition prevalent in India. This also has the potential for using in other malnutrition-prone countries.
Biplab Reply
March 19, 2014
Good work
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