Send to

Choose Destination
Habitation (Elmsford). 2004;10(1):7-14.

Bioavailability of iron from spinach using an in vitro/human Caco-2 cell bioassay model.

Author information

Controlled Environment Agriculture Program, Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
Cornell U, Ithaca, NY


Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) cv Whitney was tested for iron bioavailabilty using an in vitro human intestinal cell culture ferritin bioassay technique previously developed. Spinach was cultured in a growth chamber for 33 days, harvested, and freeze-dried. Total iron in the samples was an average of 71 micrograms/g dry weight. Spinach was digested in vitro (pepsin and 0.1 M HCl followed by pancreatin and 0.1 M NaHCO3) with and without the addition of supplemental ascorbic acid. Caco-2 cell cultures were used to determine iron bioavailability from the spinach mixtures. Production of the iron-binding protein ferritin in the Caco-2 cells showed the supplemental ascorbic acid doubled bioavailability of iron from spinach. The data show fresh spinach is a poor source of iron, and emphasize the importance of evaluation of whole meals rather than single food items. The data support the usefulness of the in vitro/Caco-2 cell ferritin bioassay model for prescreening of space flight diets for bioavailable iron.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center