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World J Gastroenterol. Apr 28, 2009; 15(16): 1977-1984
Published online Apr 28, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.1977
Effect of dephytinization on bioavailability of iron, calcium and zinc from infant cereals assessed in the Caco-2 cell model
Carmen Frontela, Maria Laura Scarino, Simonetta Ferruzza, Gaspar Ros, Carmen Martínez
Carmen Frontela, Gaspar Ros, Carmen Martínez, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Science and Food Science and Technology, Murcia University, Murcia 30071, Spain
Maria Laura Scarino, Simonetta Ferruzza, INRAN, National Research Institute for Food and Nutrition, Via Ardeatina 546, Rome 00178, Italy
Author contributions: Frontela C and Ferruzza S performed the research; Scarino ML, Martínez C and Ros G designed the research in addition to providing financial support for this work; Frontela C recorded the data and wrote the paper.
Correspondence to: Carmen Frontela, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Science and Food Science and Technology, Murcia University, Murcia 30071, Spain.
Telephone: +34-968-364798
Fax: +34-968-398767
Received: July 9, 2008
Revised: March 16, 2009
Accepted: March 23, 2009
Published online: April 28, 2009

AIM: To test the effect of the dephytinization of three different commercial infant cereals on iron, calcium, and zinc bioavailability by estimating the uptake, retention, and transport by Caco-2 cells.

METHODS: Both dephytinized (by adding an exogenous phytase) and non-dephytinized infant cereals were digested using an in vitro digestion protocol adapted to the gastrointestinal conditions of infants younger than 6 mo. Mineral cell retention, transport, and uptake from infant cereals were measured using the soluble fraction of the simulated digestion and the Caco-2 cells.

RESULTS: Dephytinization of infant cereals significantly increased (P < 0.05) the cell uptake efficiency (from 0.66%-6.05% to 3.93%-13%), retention (from 6.04%-16.68% to 14.75%-20.14%) and transport efficiency (from 0.14%-2.21% to 1.47%-6.02%), of iron, and the uptake efficiency (from 5.0%-35.4% to 7.3%-41.6%) and retention (from 4.05%-20.53% to 14.45%-61.3%) of zinc, whereas calcium only cell uptake showed a significant increase (P < 0.05) after removing phytate from most of the samples analyzed. A positive relationship (P < 0.05) between mineral solubility and the cell uptake and transport efficiencies was observed.

CONCLUSION: Removing phytate from infant cereals had a beneficial effect on iron and zinc bioavailability when infant cereals were reconstituted with water. Since in developing countries cereal-based complementary foods for infants are usually consumed mixed with water, exogenous phytase additions could improve the nutritional value of this weaning food.

Keywords: Infant cereals, Phytate, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, Caco-2 cells, Bioavailability