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IIT-K food engg dept develops technology to process RTC Iron Fortified Rice
Tuesday, 14 March, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
The agricultural and food engineering department, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, has developed technology to process ready-to-cook (RTC) Iron Fortified Rice (IFR) with production capacity of 100kg/day for pilot demonstration. The move is funded by the department of biotechnology, Government of India, based in New Delhi.

The process uses broken rice kernels using extrusion technology and has been developed at Food Chemistry & Technology Laboratory of IIT Kharagpur.

The per kg cost of iron fortification through this technology is estimated at ? 0.65-0.75 (approx.). The institute has indigenously designed and fabricated all equipments. Iron fortified rice may prove as one of the concrete solutions for India’s anaemic population.

As much as 59% women were found to be anaemic in the country, with the eastern region having a significantly higher prevalence at 72% than the rest of the country identifies a study. Anaemia in Indian girls is due to both biology and socio-economic factors. Nutritionists have recommended increasing dietary iron intake and rice being a staple diet for most of India, it can become a vehicle to carry the required micronutrient to the affected group. Prof. H N Mishra and his research team including Chandrakant Dalbhagat took the initiative to address the prevalence of anaemia by developing the process technology & machinery for the production of iron fortified rice premix from broken rice and iron fortificant.

The Process
The broken rice is first ground into flour, and then desired amounts of water and iron fortificant are uniformly mixed with this and conditioned in order to prepare rice flour & iron fortificant mixture and then fed into a twin-screw extruder for the production of the extrudate of a rice-like shape. The iron fortified rice premix, thus produced, is mixed with normal rice in the ratio of 1:100 and packaged. The developed iron fortified rice premix has iron content 600-800 mg per 100 g; the iron fortified & normal rice blend has 6-8 mg iron per 100 g. The nutritional, sensory & cooking characteristics of the developed iron fortified rice are fully compatible with those of the normal rice.

Nutritional anaemia, specifically to Iron-Deficiency Anaemia (IDA), is the most common form of anaemia in India. The most important biological reason for IDA is the inadequate dietary intake of bio-available iron. About 90% of total daily dietary iron in Indian diets is non-haem iron which is obtained from plant food and is less efficiently absorbed. Also, bioavailability of iron in the vegetarian diet is 10%. Indians’ tendency to drink tea/coffee with meals reduces the bioavailability of dietary iron.

The technology is ready for commercialisation.
 
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