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BIOAVAILABILITY OF IRON FROM SPINACH USING AN IN VITRO/HUMAN CACO-2 CELL BIOASSAY MODEL

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Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) cv Whitney was tested for iron bioavailabilty using an in vitro human intestinal cell culture ferritin bioassay technique previously developed. Spinach was cultured in a growth chamber for 33 days, harvested, and freeze-dried. Total iron in the samples was an average of 71 g/g dry weight. Spinach was digested in vitro (pepsin and 0.1 M HCl followed by pancreatin and 0.1 M NaHCO3) with and without the addition of supplemental ascorbic acid. Caco-2 cell cultures were used to determine iron bioavailability from the spinach mixtures. Production of the iron-binding protein ferritin in the Caco-2 cells showed the supplemental ascorbic acid doubled bioavailability of iron from spinach. The data show fresh spinach is a poor source of iron, and emphasize the importance of evaluation of whole meals rather than single food items. The data support the usefulness of the in vitro/Caco-2 cell ferritin bioassay model for prescreening of space flight diets for bioavailable iron.
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Keywords: Ascorbic acid; Bioavailability; Caco-2 cells; Ferritin; Iron; Spinach

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Controlled Environment Agriculture Program, Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 2: †United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Station, U.S. Federal Plant, Soil, and Nutrition Laboratory, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853 3: ‡Controlled Environment Agriculture Program, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 4: §Department of Nutritional Science, 122 Savage Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 5: ¶Plant Biomass Production, Advanced Life Support, NASA, J.F. Kennedy Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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