Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Dietary Prevention of Obesity-related Disease Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #264060

Title: The potential of lentil (Lens culinaris L.) as a whole food for increased selenium, iron, and zinc intake: Preliminary results from a three year study

item THAVARAJAH, DIL - University Of Saskatchewan
item THAVARAJAH, PUSHPARAJAH - University Of Saskatchewan
item WEJESURIYA, ASOKA - Lady Ridgeway Children'S Hospital
item RUTZKE, MICHAEL - Cornell University - New York
item Glahn, Raymond
item Combs, Gerald
item VANDENBERG, ALBERT - University Of Saskatchewan

Submitted to: Euphytica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/20/2011
Publication Date: 2/3/2011
Citation: Thavarajah, D., Thavarajah, P., Wejesuriya, A., Rutzke, M., Glahn, R.P., Combs, G.F., Vandenberg, A. 2011. The potential of lentil (Lens culinaris L.) as a whole food for increased selenium, iron, and zinc intake: Preliminary results from a three year study. Euphytica. 180(1):123-128.

Interpretive Summary: Key mineral nutrients were measured in lentils that were grown in Canada. Results showed that they had significant amounts of iron, zinc and selenium. It was also found that lentils have relatively low amounts of phytic acid, which can reduce the bioavailability of iron and zinc by binding each. The results of studies with an intestinal cell model were consistent with these chemical analyses, showing that the uptake and utilization of iron and zinc from lentil is relatively good. Preliminary feeding studies conducted in Sri Lanka showed that Canadian-grown lentils are good sources of these nutrients.

Technical Abstract: Micronutrient malnutrition, especially selenium (Se), iron (Fe), and zinc (Zn) deficiency, is a major global health problem. Previous attempts to prevent micronutrient malnutrition through food fortification, supplementation, and enrichment of staple crops has had limited success. Canadian grown lentils are rich in micronutrients Fe (73-90 mg kg-1), Zn (44-54 mg kg-1), Se (425-673 µg kg-1), and have very low concentrations of phytic acid (2.5-4.4 mg g-1). Our preliminary studies using a Caco-2 cell model show that the uptake of Fe from lentils is relatively greater than that of most other staple food crops. Moreover, preliminary results from our human nutrition study in Sri Lanka show an increased trend in blood Se concentration after lentil consumption. This paper briefly overviews our previously published results as well as data from international lentil field trials, and describes the potential for biofortified lentil to provide a whole food solution to combat global human micronutrient malnutrition.