Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333997

Research Project: Bioavailability of Iron, Zinc and Select Phytochemicals for Improved Health

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Title: The combined application of the Caco-2 cell bioassay coupled with in vivo (Gallus gallus) feeding trial represents an effective approach to predicting Fe bioavailability in humans

Author
item Tako, Elad
item BAR, HAIM - University Of Connecticut
item Glahn, Raymond

Submitted to: Nutrients
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/9/2016
Publication Date: 11/18/2016
Citation: Tako, E.N., Bar, H., Glahn, R.P. 2016. The combined application of the Caco-2 cell bioassay coupled with in vivo (Gallus gallus) feeding trial represents an effective approach to predicting Fe bioavailability in humans. Nutrients. 8(11):732.

Interpretive Summary: Dietary iron (Fe) deficiency is a health concern caused by a lack of absorbable Fe, mostly in developing countries. Research methods that predict Fe bioavailability for humans can be extremely useful in evaluating food fortification strategies, developing Fe-biofortified enhanced staple food crops and assessing the Fe bioavailability of meal plans that include such crops. In this review, research from four recent poultry (Gallus gallus) feeding trials coupled with in-vitro analyses of Fe-biofortified crops will be compared to the parallel human efficacy studies which used the same varieties and harvests of the Fe-biofortified crops. Similar to the human studies, these trials were aimed to assess the potential effects of regular consumption of these enhanced staple crops on maintenance or improvement of iron status. The results demonstrate a strong agreement between the in vitro/in vivo screening approach and the parallel human studies. These observations therefore indicate that the in vitro/ Caco-2 (human intestinal cell line) and poultry models can be integral tools to develop varieties of staple food crops and predict their effect on iron status in humans. The cost-effectiveness of this approach also means that it can be used to monitor the nutritional stability of the Fe-biofortified crop once a variety has released and integrated into the food system. These screening tools therefore represent a significant advancement to the field for crop development and can be applied to ensure the sustainability of the biofortification approach.

Technical Abstract: Research methods that predict Fe bioavailability for humans can be extremely useful in evaluating food fortification strategies, developing Fe-biofortified enhanced staple food crops and assessing the Fe bioavailability of meal plans that include such crops. In this review, research from four recent poultry (Gallus gallus) feeding trials coupled with in-vitro analyses of Fe-biofortified crops will be compared to the parallel human efficacy studies which used the same varieties and harvests of the Fe-biofortified crops. Similar to the human studies, these trials were aimed to assess the potential effects of regular consumption of these enhanced staple crops on maintenance or improvement of iron status. The results demonstrate a strong agreement between the in vitro/in vivo screening approach and the parallel human studies. These observations therefore indicate that the in vitro/ Caco-2 cell and Gallus gallus models can be integral tools to develop varieties of staple food crops and predict their effect on iron status in humans. The cost-effectiveness of this approach also means that it can be used to monitor the nutritional stability of the Fe-biofortified crop once a variety has released and integrated into the food system. These screening tools therefore represent a significant advancement to the field for crop development and can be applied to ensure the sustainability of the biofortification approach.