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J Sci Food Agric. 2016 Mar 15;96(4):1326-32. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7226. Epub 2015 May 22.

Evaluation of iron and zinc bioavailability of beans targeted for biofortification using in vitro and in vivo models and their effect on the nutritional status of preschool children.

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Department of Pharmacy and Nutrition, Center for Agricultural Sciences, Federal University of Espirito Santo, Alto Universitario, 29500-000, Alegre, ES, Brazil.
Department of Nutrition and Health, Federal University of Viçosa, PH Holfs, 36570-000, Viçosa, MG, Brazil.
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, IL, 61801, USA.



Biofortified beans have been produced with higher nutrient concentrations. The objective was to evaluate the in vitro and in vivo iron and zinc bioavailability of common beans Pontal (PO), targeted for biofortification, compared with conventional Perola (PE) and their effects on the iron and zinc nutritional status of preschool children.


In Caco-2 cells, PO and PE beans did not show differences in ferritin (PO, 13.1 ± 1.4; PE, 13.6 ± 1.4 ng mg(-1) protein) or zinc uptake (PO, 15.9 ± 1.5; PE, 15.5 ± 3.5 µmol mg(-1) protein). In the rat, PO and PE beans presented high iron bioavailability (PO, 109.6 ± 29.5; PE, 110.7 ± 13.9%). In preschool children, no changes were observed in iron and zinc nutritional status comparing before and after PO consumption (ferritin, 41.2 ± 23.2 and 28.9 ± 40.4 µg L(-1) ; hemoglobin, 13.7 ± 2.2 and 13.1 ± 3.2 g dL(-1) ; plasma zinc, 119.2 ± 24.5 and 133.9 ± 57.7 µg dL(-1) ; erythrocyte zinc, 53.5 ± 13.8 and 59.4 ± 17.1 µg g(-1) hemoglobin).


Iron and zinc bioavailability in PO and PE beans was not statistically different using either cell culture, animal or human models. Efforts should focus on increasing mineral bioavailability of beans targeted for biofortification.


beans; bioavailability; biofortification; iron; zinc

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