UNS – Students of Universitas Sebelas Maret (UNS) developed an alternative for preventing stunting using Sacha Inchi nut oil extract. As part of the Student Creativity Program (Program Kreatifitas Mahasiswa or PKM) in Exact Research (Riset Eksakta or RE), they titled their project “Encapsulation of Sacha Inchi Nut Oil Extract (Plukenetia volubilis) as an Alternative to Prevent Stunting”. This team consists of students and supervising lecturers from the Faculty of Agriculture (FP) UNS.
The PKM RE UNS team received funding support from the Directorate General (Ditjen) of Higher Education, Research and Technology (Direktorat Jenderal Pendidikan Tinggi, Riset, dan Teknologi or Diktiristek) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology (Kemendikbudristek). The team was supervised by Asri Nursiwi, S.T.P., M.Sc. Its members included Alvien Gusti Prasditio, Amalia Brilian Sekar Taji, Anis Azkiya Qoulany, and Shalsha Putri Mayang Sari.
“The aim of this research is to find the best encapsulation formulation capable of preserving and protecting the omega and protein content in Sacha Inchi nut oil, making it a potential alternative for preventing stunting in children,” Azkiya, the leader of the PKM-RE UNS team, said Friday (22/9/2023 ).
Stunting is a global health issue affecting approximately 165 million children worldwide. According to the Indonesian Nutrition Status Study (Studi Status Gizi Indonesia or SSGI) by the Ministry of Health, the prevalence of stunting among Indonesian toddlers was 24.4% in 2021. This means that nearly 1 in 4 toddlers suffers from stunting. Indonesia’s stunting rate remains above the WHO’s minimum standard for stunting prevalence, which should be below 20%.
Based on SSGI findings, the prevalence of stunting in Indonesia decreased from 24.4% in 2021 to 21.6% in 2022. However, stunting remains a health issue in developing countries, including Indonesia. In response, the students innovated an alternative method to prevent stunting by utilizing Sacha Inchi nut oil extract.
Sacha Inchi seed oil is predicted to become a trending natural ingredient in the coming years due to its high omega-3 content, which accounts for 48% of the total fatty acids present in Sacha Inchi seed oil.
Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis) is a legume belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family. It originates from the highland rainforests of the Andes in South America and has recently become commercialized in Thailand, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Sacha Inchi is rich in beneficial nutrients, containing 45.2% omega 3, 36.8% omega 6, 9.6% omega 9, and 7.7% saturated fat.
“So far, there is no extensive research regarding proper encapsulation methods to preserve the nutritional content of Sacha Inchi nut oil. Therefore, research and developing the nutritional content of encapsulated Sacha Inchi oil has become a new topic for further studies,” Asri Nursiwi, S.T.P., M.Sc. said.
The PKM-RE UNS team aims to extract Sacha Inchi nut oil, obtain protein and omega from the Sacha Inchi nut oil extract, and assess the nutritional activity of the encapsulated Sacha Inchi nut oil extract in preventing stunting.
Protein content was analyzed using the Kjeldahl test method, while the analysis of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 content in the product was conducted using gas chromatography. Subsequently, the best formulation with the highest omega and protein content values in the oil was determined.
The PKM-RE UNS Sacha Inchi team hopes that the best encapsulation formulation of Sacha Inchi nut oil extract, which can preserve and protect the omega and protein content, will serve as an alternative to prevent stunting in children. Humas UNS
Reporter: R. P. Adji
Editor: Dwi Hastuti