"This study answered a major feasibility concern for the biofortification program because plant breeders were quickly successful in ramping up the beta-carotene content in the corn, but then the question was, 'Would it be available to be absorbed and utilized by people?,'" she continued. "So what we've shown is the beta-carotene is bioavailable to be converted to vitamin A in the body, and much more so than previously expected."
The study was posted online this month by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is published by the American Society for Nutrition. Iowa State graduate students Shanshan Li and Angela Nugroho, and Purdue University researcher Torbert Rocheford -- who was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at the time the research was conducted -- collaborated with White on the study. An abstract is available at: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/ajcn.2010.29802v1.
The researchers had their six healthy female subjects, between the ages of 18 and 30, consume 250-gram portions of maize porridge three times at two-week intervals. Each subject consumed the beta-carotene biofortified maize porridge, as well as two white maize control porridges that were naturally devoid of beta-carotene, but contained known amounts of added beta-carotene or vitamin A. Blood samples were drawn after they ate each porridge to determine the amount of vitamin A that was absorbed in the blood.
White says the study's findings provide an important step in the process of making the biofortified corn available to the people who desperately need vitamin A in their diets.
"These [their subjects] were mostly graduate students based in the U.S. who were screened for excellent hea
|Contact: Mike Ferlazzo|
Iowa State University