Total iron absorbed from iron-biofortified potatoes is higher than from non-biofortified potatoes: a randomized trial using stable iron isotopes in women from the Peruvian highlands

Gabriela Burgos, Reyna Liria, Christophe Zeder, Paul A. Kroon, Guy Hareau, Mary Penny, Jack Dainty, Olla Al-Jaibaji, Erick Boy, Richard Mithen, Richard F. Hurrell, Elisa Salas, Thomas zum Felde, Michael B. Zimmermann, Susan Fairweather-Tait

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Background: Yellow-fleshed potatoes biofortified with iron have been developed through conventional breeding, but the bioavailability of iron is unknown. Objectives: Our objective was to measure iron absorption from an iron-biofortified yellow-fleshed potato clone in comparison with a nonbiofortified yellow-fleshed potato variety. Methods: We conducted a single-blinded, randomized, crossover, multiple-meal intervention study. Women (n = 28; mean ± SD plasma ferritin 21.3 ± 3.3 μg/L) consumed 10 meals (460 g) of both potatoes, each meal extrinsically labeled with either 58Fe sulfate (biofortified) or 57Fe sulfate (nonfortified), on consecutive days. Iron absorption was estimated from iron isotopic composition in erythrocytes 14 d after administration of the final meal. Results: Mean ± SD iron, phytic acid, and ascorbic acid concentrations in iron-biofortified and the nonfortified potato meals (mg/per 100 mg) were 0.63 ± 0.01 and 0.31 ± 0.01, 39.34 ± 3.04 and 3.10 ± 1.72, and 7.65 ± 0.34 and 3.74 ± 0.39, respectively (P < 0.01), whereas chlorogenic acid concentrations were 15.14 ± 1.72 and 22.52 ± 3.98, respectively (P < 0.05). Geometric mean (95% CI) fractional iron absorption from the iron-biofortified clone and the nonbiofortified variety were 12.1% (10.3%–14.2%) and 16.6% (14.0%–19.6%), respectively (P < 0.001). Total iron absorption from the iron-biofortified clone and the nonbiofortified variety were 0.35 mg (0.30–0.41 mg) and 0.24 mg (0.20–0.28 mg) per 460 g meal, respectively (P < 0.001). Conclusions: TIA from iron-biofortified potato meals was 45.8% higher than that from nonbiofortified potato meals, suggesting that iron biofortification of potatoes through conventional breeding is a promising approach to improve iron intake in iron-deficient women. The study was registered at as Identifier number NCT05154500.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1710-1717
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number6
Early online date13 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Latin America
  • bioavailability
  • biofortified crop
  • iron absorption
  • iron-biofortified potato
  • stable isotopes
  • women

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