Nick Blumenthal

Nick Blumenthal

Mentor

Juan Andrade Laborde, Ph.D.

College

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Major

Applied Physiology & Kinesiology

Minor

N/A

Organizations

University Research Scholars Program, International Genetically Engineered Medicine, Honors Program

Academic Awards

National Merit Scholar, Benacquisto Scholar, HHP Dean's List

Volunteering

World Food Prize Foundation Florida Youth Institute, UFCL

Research Interests

Bioactive Enhancement, Biomaterials, and Nutraceutical R&D

Hobbies and Interests

Calisthenics, Cooking, Distance Running, Traveling

Research Project

Engineering Thermal-Resistant Capsule Configurations for Improved Vitamin Constituent Bioavailability

Oral delivery of bioactive particulates hinges upon the utilization of shielding technology preventing deterioration via the gastrointestinal tract. Microencapsulation represents among the most conducive methods to offer this protection. The technology manifests an external “wall” about an inner “core” constituent; the outer wall must display survivability against an external environment without the inner encapsulate suffering corruption.This method has been adopted to both the food and pharmaceutical industries where sensitive encapsulates must be released in an appropriate environment whilst withstanding assorted variable conditions(e.g.,acidity, solubility, enzymatic activity, mechanical stressors, etc.). Constituents forming capsules impart characteristics to the final wall and core; thus, bioactive encapsulation necessitates optimization of both processing methods used to prepare capsules and material constituting traits of the resultant product.


Vitamins A and D represent two essential bioactive compounds essential to various biological systems. Deficiencies in either are extremely widespread across the globe and represent common points for supplemental fortification. As these compounds number amongst those sensitive to typical environmental conditions either outside or inside the body (e.g. light-sensitive, oxidation, vulnerable to stomach pH, natural absorptivity, respectively), fortification of such essential compounds traditionally involves processing excess amounts of the desired supplement. Even such, various food processing techniques may further corrupt a supplement. Regarding the specific aforementioned vitamins, each drastically increases manufacturers’ variable ingredient expense that then drives consumer costs. As such, essential supplements remain out of financial reach for those populations unable to afford basic health.


Heat represents amongst the greatest production obstacles to the successful efficacy of Vitamins A and D. Many encapsulation constituents have been studied in various configurations to optimize various components of encapsulation. Current limitations include a capsule resistant to heat introduced during various food-processing procedures. This project seeks to confer heat-resistance to a designed capsule configuration.