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Prog Food Nutr Sci. 1992;16(3):245-62.

Recent advances in methodology for analysis of phytate and inositol phosphates in foods.

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  • 1Division of Biochemistry, Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, U.K.


This review summarises the methods available for the analysis of phytate and structurally related molecules, i.e., inositol polyphosphates. Phytate has been determined by colorimetry, low pressure ion exchange column chromatography, phosphorus-31 fourier transform nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P FT NMR), near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Among these techniques anion exchange column chromatography and HPLC were shown to be best suited for separation of inositol phosphates. Since inositol phosphates do not have a characteristic absorption spectrum, their detection in HPLC analysis is limited to methods employing monitoring of refractive index, post column reaction products, conductivity or indirect detection although other detection methods may be feasible. As refractive index detection under isocratic eluent conditions is relatively easy to manipulate, anion-exchange HPLC methods using a low capacity column or ion-pair HPLC methods are recommended for the analysis of inositol phosphates in nutritional studies.

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