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Food Chem. 2013 Nov 15;141(2):1019-25. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.01.105. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Effect of phytate reduction of sorghum, through genetic modification, on iron and zinc availability as assessed by an in vitro dialysability bioaccessibility assay, Caco-2 cell uptake assay, and suckling rat pup absorption model.

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Centre for Nutrition and Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, South Africa.


Improved iron and zinc availability from sorghum, a commonly consumed staple, will benefit many malnourished communities in rural Africa burdened with high prevalence of iron and zinc deficiency. This research compared the effect of genetic phytate reduction in sorghum on iron and zinc bioaccessibility and uptake measured by in vitro dialysability and Caco-2 cell uptake assays to that of iron and zinc absorption measured by a suckling rat pup model. The phytate reduction (80-86%) in these sorghums significantly increased zinc availability. The Caco-2 cell method, but not the dialysability assay, proved useful in estimating zinc absorption. The measured increase in iron availability differed between the methods, possibly due to the effect of varying mineral (Ca, Fe, Zn, P) contents of the sorghums. This effect was most prominent in the iron uptake results. More research is needed to determine the effect of naturally occurring variations in mineral contents of sorghum on the iron uptake by Caco-2 cells.

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