Inadequate eating habits, among other factors, lead to nutritional deficiencies worldwide. Attempts have been made to control micronutrient deficits, such as biofortification of usually consumed crops, but the interaction between food components may affect the bioavailability of the nutrients. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the effect of pro-vitamin A on the bioavailability of iron in biofortified cowpea and cassava mixture, compared to their conventional counterparts. The chemical composition of the raw material was determined, and an in vivo study was performed, with Wistar rats, using the depletion-repletion method. Gene expression of iron-metabolism proteins was evaluated. Results were compared by analysis of variance (ANOVA), followed by the Tukey test (p
< 0.05). Biofortified cowpea (BRS Aracê
) showed an increase of approximately 19.5% in iron content compared to conventional (BRS Nova era
). No difference in Hemoglobin gain was observed between groups. However, the animals fed biofortified cowpea were similar to ferrous sulfate (Control group) regarding the expression of the hephaestin and ferroportin proteins, suggesting a greater efficiency in the intestinal absorption of iron. Thus, this study points out a higher efficiency of the biofortified cowpea in the bioavailability of iron, regardless of the presence of pro-vitamin A.
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