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J Sci Food Agric. 2015 Jan;95(2):379-85. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6730. Epub 2014 Jun 17.

Rice fortification with zinc during parboiling may improve the adequacy of zinc intakes in Bangladesh.

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Nutridemics, Unit #506, Toronto, ON M6K 3R4, Canada.



Zinc deficiency is prevalent among children and women in Bangladesh and parboiled rice is the major staple food consumed. Parboiling offers an opportunity to increase the zinc and iron content of rice by adding fortificants to the soaking water.


Rice zinc content increased with increasing amounts of zinc sulfate added to the parboil soaking water. Addition of 1300 mg zinc L(-1) increased raw polished rice zinc content from 16.6 to 44.9 mg kg(-1) and from 12.6 to 32.9 mg kg(-1) in the open and closed parboiling systems, equivalent to 170% and 161% increases, respectively. Retention of zinc after washing and cooking was 70-81% across all concentrations tested. Addition of iron-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and zinc sulfate together increased zinc, but not iron, content of polished rice. The simulated prevalence of inadequate zinc intake was reduced by more than half among children and nearly two-thirds among women if 50% of the population were to consume the 1300 mg zinc L(-1) parboiled fortified rice.


Addition of zinc sulfate to soaking water during parboiling increases the zinc content of rice and, if found to be bioavailable, could substantially reduce the prevalence of inadequate zinc intake by children and women in Bangladesh.


Bangladesh; fortification; iron, parboil; rice; zinc

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