Iron (Fe) deficiency is a major human health concern in areas of the world in which diets are often Fe deficient. In the current study, we aimed to identify appropriate methods and optimal dosage for Fe fortification of lentil (Lens culinaris
Medik.) dal with FeSO4
O (ferrous sulphate hepta-hydrate), NaFeEDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid iron (III) sodium salt) and FeSO4
O (ferrous sulphate mono-hydrate). We used a colorimetric method to determine the appearance of the dal fortified with fortificants at different Fe concentrations and under different storage conditions. Relative Fe bioavailability was assessed using an in vitro cell culture bioassay. We found that NaFeEDTA was the most suitable fortificant for red lentil dal, and at 1600 ppm, NaFeEDTA provides 13–14 mg of additional Fe per 100 g of dal. Lentil dal sprayed with fortificant solutions, followed by shaking and drying at 75 °C, performed best with respect to drying time and color change. Total Fe and phytic acid concentrations differed significantly between cooked unfortified and fortified lentil, ranging from 68.7 to 238.5 ppm and 7.2 to 8.0 mg g−1
, respectively. The relative Fe bioavailability of cooked fortified lentil was increased by 32.2–36.6% compared to unfortified cooked lentil. We conclude that fortification of lentil dal is effective and could provide significant health benefits to dal-consuming populations vulnerable to Fe deficiency.
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