Malnutrition is widespread among world populations. It is mostly devastating in the developing world, and is mostly affecting children. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports on various factors related to nutrition and micronutrient deficiency on a regular basis. Microgreens have been shown to be more nutrient-dense than their mature plant counterparts and offer a solution for combating malnutrition.
A novel process termed Kinetic Hydroponics has been developed in the laboratory of Professor Teymour and has been demonstrated to produce microgreens and sprouts at yields exceeding traditional methods while providing full control over nutrient and disinfectant addition and product biological safety. This process was used by the IPRO 229 team in Spring 2016 to develop devices useable at the home-based and community scales. The team also gathered valuable knowledge about microgreen nutrition and safety information. Further work is needed for technology transfer to the typical user in the malnourished populations.
For fall 2016, the objective of this IPRO project is to develop select communities of users, both locally and internationally, who stand to gain from the use of this technology to combat malnutrition, and to further communicate with these select groups to ascertain their needs and develop customized solutions for each community. The IPRO work groups formed through this project will be expected to assist the user groups in learning about the nutritional value of microgreens, in developing sustainable local solutions, and in establishing the safety of the microgreen products and suitability for consumption. The IPRO work groups will review the state of products and prototypes developed in the Spring 2016 IPRO and decide on any needed modifications/additions to make these devices better suited for the production objectives, and generally more robust and finished.
The IPRO work groups will target community organizations and other NGOs in the Chicago area, as well as in India and Egypt. They will work together with these groups to organize select clusters of users and communicate with them. Overall, the IPRO team will develop an understanding of the lifestyles and constraints faced by the user communities and make recommendations for: