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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Research Project #445787

Research Project: Assessment of Bioavailable Iron from Staple Food Crops and Food Products: A Focus on Pulse Crops

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Project Number: 8062-10700-001-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Feb 8, 2024
End Date: Feb 7, 2029

Objective 1: Determine the impact of the market (color) class, specific varieties within a market class, agricultural location, agronomic practices, and food processing (milling and extrusion) on bioavailable iron in pulses. (NP107, C1, PS1A) Sub-objective 1.A. Provide a ranking of relative Fe bioavailability from market classes within and across pulse crops. Sub-objective 1.B. Determine regional (e.g., Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington) effects on Fe concentration and bioavailability of dry beans. Sub-Objective 1.C. Evaluate the effects of commercial foliar fertilizer on the Fe concentration and Fe bioavailability of domestic dry beans. Sub-objective 1.D. Determine how processing (i.e., milling, roasting, or extrusion) dry beans into ingredients influences their Fe concentration and bioavailability. Objective 2: Develop soil-based greenhouse methodology for intrinsic isotopic labeling of pulse crops. (NP107, C1, PS1A) Sub-objective 2.A. Develop soil-based conditions/methods for stable isotopic 57Fe enrichment of bean plants (with applications to other pulse crops) at a level greater than 50%, where greenhouse-grown material matches the field-grown material for the key factors related to Fe nutrition. Sub-objective 2.B. Conduct in vitro and in vivo experiments to determine the effectiveness and potential applications of soil-based intrinsic Fe labeling. Objective 3: Determine the impact of flavonoids present in seed coats on bioavailable iron in pulses. (NP107, C1, PS1A) Sub-objective 3.A. Determine via an in vitro model (Caco-2 cell monolayer) the effect of bean seed coat flavonoids on Fe uptake and absorption. Sub-objective 3.B. Determine via an in vivo animal model (modern broiler chicken) the effect of bean seed coat flavonoids on Fe uptake and absorption.

Iron (Fe) deficiency affects over a third of the world’s population. In the U.S., recent studies indicate that Fe deficiency and associated mortalities are on the rise, effecting a clear need to identify and produce foods with enhanced Fe nutrition. Furthermore, increased pulse crop consumption is recommended in the current dietary guidelines for Americans to enable healthy weight management and contribute to the prevention of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Overweight and obese individuals are also at increased risk of developing iron deficiency anemia. Recent research indicates that certain varieties of pulse crops are rich in bioavailable Fe. This project plan will focus on the identification, development, and production of specific varieties of pulse crops that can deliver absorbable Fe. This work will also aim to identify specific agricultural regions and practices that produce pulse crops with enhanced Fe nutrition. In addition, flavonoids are known to play a key role in Fe nutrition from pulse crops; however, the interaction between Fe and flavonoids is poorly understood. Therefore, this project will determine how flavonoid content, profile, and consumption influence Fe nutrition from pulses. We will employ our established screening tools of an iron bioavailability bioassay coupled with a poultry model that reflects human nutrition. In addition, we will use techniques such as marker-assisted breeding (via collaborators), liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma emission spectroscopy to measure the Fe content of foods, and inductively coupled mass spectroscopy to track the absorption of Fe from isotopically labeled crops. With this unique combination of tools, we expect to identify, characterize, and develop pulse crops with enhanced Fe nutrition. Overall, this knowledge will further contribute to food innovations with enhanced Fe nutrition and improve human health domestically and abroad.