Iron and Zinc


Background (completed research project)

The development of new iron and zinc compounds for fortifying food could prevent illnesses associated with deficiencies in these minerals. Owing to the low bioavailability of such compounds today, there are few alternatives that can be used to fortify food. The project is investigating new compounds that may offer potential for targeted fortification with iron and zinc, with increased bioavailability.


More than two billion people are affected by iron and zinc deficiency today, in both industrialised and developing countries. These deficiencies contribute to increased morbidity and mortality. In particular, children and young women are at risk owing to their increased requirements. Adding iron and zinc to food is an effective and sustainable strategy for fighting these deficiencies. However, there are still too few compounds available that offer good bioavailability and are safe, and that also do not have a negative impact on the colour and taste of the food. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop new compounds for fortifying food, in order to solve this global nutrition problem. The aim of this project is to produce new nanotechnology-based iron and zinc compounds for fortifying food, with increased bioavailability and processability. For this purpose, both the bioavailability and the sensory impact of the new compounds on food will be investigated.


This project can make a valuable contribution to the development of innovative compounds for fortifying and supplementing food. A new generation of food products that are fortified with iron and zinc could significantly reduce the illnesses associated with deficiencies in these minerals.

Original title

Nanostructured minerals for food and nutrition applications: Enhancing aqueous dispersibility, sensory stability and bioavailability of Fe/Zn nanostructures using biomineralization on proteins

Project leaders​

  • Prof. Dr. Raffaele Mezzenga, ETH Zürich
  • Prof. Dr. Michael B. Zimmermann, ETH Zürich



Further information on this content


Prof. Raffaele Mezzenga IFNH FSM Group LFO E23 Schmelzbergstrasse 9 8092 Zürich +41 44 632 91 40