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Cambridge Biosciences BBSRC DTP



Congratulations to David Willer, 2016 cohort PhD student in the BBSRC DTP Programme, for publishing the article 'Vitamin Bullets. Microencapsulated Feeds to Fortify Shellfish and Tackle Human Nutrient Deficiencies' in Frontiers in Nutrition.


Over two billion people worldwide are micronutrient deficient, with regionally specific deficiencies. Fortification of food with micronutrients has become an industry standard for enhancing public health. Bivalve shellfish (e.g., oysters, clams, and mussels) provide the most sustainable source of animal protein on the planet, and the market is rapidly growing—with production in China increasing 1,000-fold since 1980 to an annual 36 kg capita−1 consumption level. Bivalves are also unique in that micronutrients consumed at their end-life stage will be digested by humans, as humans consume the entire organism including the gut. We have developed a novel microencapsulated vehicle for delivering micronutrients to bivalves, tailored for optimal size, shape, buoyancy, and palatability, demonstrating the potential of fortified bivalves to tackle human nutrient deficiencies. Oysters fed vitamin A and D microcapsules at a 3% initial dosage for just 8 h had elevated tissue vitamin content. A serving of just two such bivalves provides enough vitamin A and D to meet human dietary RDAs. Scale-up of this technology and application to other bivalve species including clams and mussels could provide a low-cost and highly sustainable mechanism to contribute toward tackling nutrient deficiencies globally.

To read the full publication, please click here.

The research featured on the Naked Scientists radio show on 19 of July, and was also published on the University website.