Submitted to: American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Interpretive Summary not needed for this 115.
Technical Abstract: Calcium is an essential human nutrient that is important in bone growth and metabolism. While dairy products in reasonable quantity can supply minimum daily requirements of calcium, the current decline in the consumption of dairy products, especially among teenagers, implies that dietary requirements must be met from other sources. Green beans, spinach and broccoli contain high concentrations of calcium, but the bioavailability o calcium from these food sources has not been determined in children. To provide accurate dietary recommendations for these foods, we have developed a recirculating hydroponic system for the growth and intrinsic labeling of plants with stable isotopes. Plants were maintained on a non-labeled nutrient solution until an appropriate developmental age and were then presented with nutrient solution containing 42-Ca. Labeled green bean pods and spinach were harvested at the proper commercial age, and were cooked, pureed and frozen until use. Thirteen teenage subjects (7 girls, 6 boys) were recruited for a two-week stay in the Metabolic Research Unit, and were fed 42-Ca-labeled vegetables along with 48-Ca-enriched milk; an intravenous dose of 46-Ca was also, administered. Blood, urine and fecal samples were collected during the two-week study. Calcium bioavailability and kinetics were determined using a multi-compartment model. The bioavailability of calcium averaged 28% from green beans, which was comparable to that of milk calcium. Calcium bioavailability from spinach averaged only 3%, due probably to the high oxalate content of spinach. Our results suggest that low-oxalate containing vegetables such as green beans can serve as good dietary sources of calcium. This research was funded in part by USDA-ARS Coop. Agr. No. 58-6250-1-003 and USDA-CSRS Grant No. 94-347200-0605.