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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Staggs, C
item Sealey, W
item Mccabe Sellers, Beverly
item Mock, D

Submitted to: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/29/2003
Publication Date: 8/20/2004
Citation: Staggs, C.G., Sealey, W.M., McCabe, B.J., Mock, D.M. 2004. Determination of the biotin content of select foods using accurate and sensitive HPLC/avidin binding. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 17(2004):767-776.

Interpretive Summary: Recognition of a low intake or lack of the B vitamin, folate, as a cause of the birth defect known as spina bifida has sparked interest in the possibility of other B vitamins as a cause of other birth defects. One such water-soluble B vitamin is biotin. Animal studies have shown that mice pups born to normal appearing mothers who had low intakes of biotin developed cleft palates and 'flipper' fins. The next step is to study if low biotin intake might be responsible for these birth defects in humans. The ability to conduct such studies is limited by a lack of good data on the actual biotin content of enough foods to tell how much biotin the pregnant women are eating. This study applied modern and accurate techniques and equipment to determine biotin content of 87 foods. By knowing biotin content of foods, the role of biotin in protecting against birth defects can be studied.

Technical Abstract: Assessing dietary biotin content, biotin bioavailability, and resulting biotin status are crucial in determining whether biotin deficiency is teratogenic in humans. Accuracy in estimating dietary biotin is limited both by data gaps in food composition tables and by inaccuracies in published data. The present study applied sensitive and specific analytical techniques to determine values for biotin content in a select group of foods. Total biotin content of 87 foods was determined using acid hydrolysis and the HPLC/avidin-binding assay. These values are consistent with published values in that meat, fish, poultry, egg, dairy, and some vegetables are relatively rich sources of biotin. However, these biotin values disagreed substantially with published values for many foods. Assay values varied between 247 times greater than published values for a given food to as much as 36% less than the published biotin value. Among 51 foods assayed for which published values were available, only seven agreed within analytical variability (+/- 20%). We conclude that published values for biotin content of foods are likely to be inaccurate.

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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