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Replacing electrolytic iron in a fortification-mix with NaFeEDTA increases both iron and zinc availabilities in traditional African maize porridges

Kruger, Johanita
Food chemistry 2016 v.205 pp. 9-13
corn, corn meal, digestion, human cell lines, iron, models, nutrient deficiencies, pH, phytic acid, socioeconomics, staple foods, zinc, Sub-Saharan Africa
While replacing electrolytic iron with NaFeEDTA in multi-micronutrient fortification-mixes is a popular option, there is no information about the effect on the iron and zinc availabilities in African staple foods. This study evaluated the effects of adding a multi-micronutrient fortification-mix, with no iron, electrolytic iron or NaFeEDTA on the availabilities of iron and zinc from thick and fermented special-grade maize porridges using a Caco-2 cell model. Replacing electrolytic iron with NaFeEDTA significantly (p⩽0.05) increased iron and, importantly zinc, availabilities in both the thick (2.16% vs. 1.45% and 2.51% vs. 2.29%, respectively) and fermented (3.35% vs. 2.66% and 3.04% vs. 2.61%, respectively) porridges. Some of the NaFeEDTA complexes perhaps partially dissociated because of pH changes during simulated digestion, binding with zinc and increasing its availability. NaFeEDTA in a multi-micronutrient fortification-mix, added to less refined, high phytate maize meal, would be more effective than electrolytic iron in addressing both iron and zinc deficiencies in low socio-economic populations of sub-Saharan Africa.