Background. Ferrous fumarate is useful in iron fortification because of its high bioavailability, mild taste, and relatively low cost. A ferrous fumarate premix for incorporation into salt has been developed by agglomerating ferrous fumarate with appropriate binder materials into salt-size particles followed by microencapsulation. Objective. The bioavailability of iron is critical for the usefulness of double-fortified salt. This study examined the in vitro bioavailability of various iron forms in double-fortified salt and microencapsulated ferrous fumarate premixes prepared by various techniques in an effort to identify key processing factors affecting iron bioavailability. Methods. Iron in vitro bioavailability was approximated through the rate of dissolution of iron in 0.1 N HCl, which closely approximates the acid in gastric juice. Iron in vivo bioavailability was tested using the hemoglobin repletion assay in rats. Results. The materials and techniques used in microencapsulating ferrous fumarate had little effect on iron in vivo bioavailability: more than 90% of iron in the premixes was released during 2 hours of digestion in the simulated gastric fluid. By incorporating titanium dioxide in the coating materials, the dark reddish-brown color of ferrous fumarate was effectively masked, resulting in acceptable sensory qualities, while maintaining the stability of iodine in the salt. Iron in vivo tests in rats have confirmed that the ferrous fumarate microencapsulated in a lipid is highly bioavailable, with a bioavailability of 95% relative to ferrous sulfate. Conclusions. These findings were corroborated by field tests in southern India which demonstrated that double-fortified salt containing microencapsulated ferrous fumarate was effective in reducing the prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia and iodine-deficiency disorders.
Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation. The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.
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