Intern: Edwin David Valenzuela De León, Food Science and Technology
Edwin did his internship in the Food Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign, USA. He participated in a project whose immediate goal was to identify the optimal settings for encapsulating bioactive compounds using a process of sprinkler drying, and whose broader goal was improving people’s intestinal health. Edwin learned that in order to encapsulate, a cross-linking material is needed that is capable of forming a matrix onto which the compound can be placed. He conducted experiments and learned that the sodium alginate properties, once joined with calcium to form a matrix and used to encapsulate different bioactive compounds, form nano particles in the sprinkler drier.
Additionally, Edwin helped Dr. Youngsoo Lee, Dr. Sean Kilker and Dr. Luis Luna with their laboratory research. He acknowledged that work done at the labs is very important because it seeks to improve the materials being used to encapsulate and this can even reduce production costs. In the future, Edwin plans to use this new knowledge back in his home country, the Dominican Republic, to encapsulate Omega-3 and help in the cardiovascular health of his people.