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Foods 2015, 4(3), 463-476;

Iron Bioavailability and Provitamin A from Sweet Potato- and Cereal-Based Complementary Foods

Department of Life & Sports Sciences, Faculty of Engineering & Science, University of Greenwich, Medway Campus, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK
Food Processing Technology Unit, Faculty of Agriculture, University for Development Studies, Ghana
School of Food and Nutrition, Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology, College of Health, Te Kura Hauora Tangata, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Christopher J. Smith
Received: 15 July 2015 / Revised: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 10 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infant and Child Nutrition and Foods)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [570 KB, uploaded 18 September 2015]   |  


Iron and vitamin A deficiencies in childhood are public health problems in the developing world. Introduction of cereal-based complementary foods, that are often poor sources of both vitamin A and bioavailable iron, increases the risk of deficiency in young children. Alternative foods with higher levels of vitamin A and bioavailable iron could help alleviate these micronutrient deficiencies. The objective of this study was to compare iron bioavailability of β-carotene-rich sweet potato-based complementary foods (orange-flesh based sweet potato (OFSP) ComFa and cream-flesh sweet potato based (CFSP) ComFa with a household cereal-based complementary food (Weanimix) and a commercial cereal (Cerelac®), using the in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell model. Iron bioavailability relative to total iron, concentrations of iron-uptake inhibitors (fibre, phytates, and polyphenols), and enhancers (ascorbic acid, ß-carotene and fructose) was also evaluated. All foods contained similar amounts of iron, but bioavailability varied: Cerelac® had the highest, followed by OFSP ComFa and Weanimix, which had equivalent bioavailable iron; CFSP ComFa had the lowest bioavailability. The high iron bioavailability from Cerelac® was associated with the highest levels of ascorbic acid, and the lowest levels of inhibitors; polyphenols appeared to limit sweet potato-based food iron bioavailability. Taken together, the results do not support that CFSP- and OFSP ComFa are better sources of bioavailable iron compared with non-commercial/household cereal-based weaning foods; however, they may be a good source of provitamin A in the form of β-carotene. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioavailability; Caco-2 cell; complementary food; β-carotene; iron; sweet potato; polyphenols; vitamin A bioavailability; Caco-2 cell; complementary food; β-carotene; iron; sweet potato; polyphenols; vitamin A

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Christides, T.; Amagloh, F.K.; Coad, J. Iron Bioavailability and Provitamin A from Sweet Potato- and Cereal-Based Complementary Foods. Foods 2015, 4, 463-476.

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