In vitro iron bioavailability of Brazilian food-based by-products

Gabriela M. Chiocchetti, Elisabete A. De Nadai Fernandes, Anna A. Wawer, Susan Fairweather-Tait, Tatiana Christides

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Background: Iron deficiency is a public health problem in many low- and middle-income countries. Introduction of agro-industrial food by-products, as additional source of nutrients, could help alleviate this micronutrient deficiency, provide alternative sources of nutrients and calories in developed countries, and be a partial solution for disposal of agro-industry by-products. Methods: The aim of this study was to determine iron bioavailability of 5 by-products from Brazilian agro-industry (peels from cucumber, pumpkin, and jackfruit, cupuaçu seed peel, and rice bran), using the in vitro digestion/ Caco-2 cell model; with Caco-2 cell ferritin formation as a surrogate marker of iron bioavailability. Total and dialyzable Fe, macronutrients, the concentrations of iron-uptake inhibitors (phytic acid, tannins, fiber) and their correlation with iron bioavailability were also evaluated. Results: The iron content of all by-products was high, but the concentration of iron and predicted bioavailability were not related. Rice bran and cupuaçu seed peel had the highest amount of phytic acid and tannins, and lowest iron bioavailability. Cucumber peels alone, and with added extrinsic Fe, and pumpkin peels with extrinsic added iron, had the highest iron bioavailability. Conclusion: The results suggest that cucumber and pumpkin peel could be valuable alternative sources of bioavailable Fe to reduce iron deficiency in at-risk populations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2018


  • Caco-2 cells
  • iron
  • bioavailability
  • phytic acid
  • agro by-products
  • food waste
  • waste utilization

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