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Eur J Nutr. 2009 Mar;48(2):115-9. doi: 10.1007/s00394-008-0770-3. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

Relative bioavailability of micronized, dispersible ferric pyrophosphate added to an apple juice drink.

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  • 1Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, UK.



Food iron fortification is a sustainable and relatively simple strategy to reduce/prevent iron deficiency but is a challenge for the food industry because of possible adverse organoleptic changes caused by the added iron. A micronized dispersible ferric pyrophosphate, trademarked as SunActive Fe, has recently been developed. SunActive Fe has a small particle size, is water soluble and may be suitable for fortifying liquid products.


To determine the relative bioavailability of SunActive Fe and its suitability for addition to pure apple juice.


Iron absorption from SunActive Fe added to pure apple juice (Minute Maid) was compared with absorption from ferrous sulphate, a highly bioavailable form of iron, in 15 women with relatively low iron stores. Both forms of iron were enriched with an iron stable isotope and iron absorption from the apple juice drinks was calculated from the isotopic enrichment of red blood cells 14 days after the last test meal.


Although mean absorption of iron from SunActive Fe was significantly lower than from ferrous sulphate (5.5% compared with 9.1%), the mean bioavailability of SunActive Fe iron relative to ferrous sulphate was 0.6, indicating that it is a good source of bioavailable iron. Iron Absorption from SunActive Fe was positively correlated (r = 0.97, P = 0.01) with absorption from ferrous sulphate, and negatively correlated with serum ferritin concentration (ferrous sulphate r = -0.81, P < 0.001; SunActive Fe r = -0.76, P = 0.01).


SunActive Fe was well absorbed from apple juice and is a potentially useful fortificant for liquid food products.

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