Evidence for an enhancing effect of alginate on iron availability in Caco-2 cells

Anna A Wawer, Paul A Sharp, Natalia Perez-Moral, Susan J Fairweather-Tait

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The potential use of alginates as a vehicle for water-soluble (bioavailable) iron for fortifying food products was examined using a Caco-2 cell model system. Cell monolayers were exposed to alginates with various mannuronic to guluronic acid ratios at three different concentrations, and cellular ferritin was measured as a surrogate marker of iron uptake into the cell. Ferritin concentrations were significantly higher when the cells were treated with ferric ammonium citrate and 0.5 and 1% w/v (but not 0.1%) alginate, but were unaffected by mannuronic/guluronic acid ratios. The enhancing effect of ascorbic acid was maintained with 0.1% alginate and significantly increased with 0.5 and 1% alginate, whereas the inhibitory effect of tannic acid was significantly reduced with 0.5% alginate. Alginate beads delivered available iron to Caco-2 cells, indicating that they are a promising vehicle for soluble iron with potential use in food fortification programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11318-22
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2012


  • Alginates
  • Biological Availability
  • Biological Transport
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Ferritins
  • Humans
  • Iron

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