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Adv Exp Med Biol. 1991;289:499-508.

The effect of food processing on phytate hydrolysis and availability of iron and zinc.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.


Phytate is one of the major inhibiting factor for zinc and iron absorption. When phytate is hydrolyzed during the food process the mineral availability is increased. By activation of the endogenous enzyme phytase which is present in plant foods, or addition of phytase, phytate is degraded to various inositolphosphates containing 1-5 phosphate groups per an inositol molecule. The effects of degradation products of phytate on availability of zinc, calcium and iron have to be further investigated. Food processes including soaking, germination and fermentation were under optimal conditions demonstrated to completely reduce the phytate content of cereals and vegetables. The results were related to in vitro measurements of iron availability and human iron and zinc absorption studies.

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