Yellow fleshed potatoes biofortified with iron have been developed through conventional breeding but the bioavailability of the iron is unknown.
Our objective was to measure iron absorption from an iron-biofortified yellow fleshed potato clone in comparison with a non-biofortified yellow fleshed potato variety.
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 labelled with either 58Fe sulfate (biofortified) or 57Fe sulfate (non-fortified) , on consecutive days. Iron absorption was estimated from the iron isotopic composition in erythrocytes 14 days after administration of the final meal.
Mean±SD iron, phytic acid and ascorbic acid concentrations in the the iron-biofortified and the non-fortified 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) while chlorogenic acid concentrations were 15.14±1.72 and 22.52±3.98 , respectively (P <0.05). Geometric mean (95% CI) fractional iron absorption (FIA) from the iron-biofortified clone and the non-biofortified variety was 12.1% (10.3-14.2%) and 16.6% (14.0-19.6%), respectively (P <0.001). Total iron absorption (TIA) from the iron-biofortified clone and the non-biofortified variety was 0.35 mg (0.30–0.41mg) and 0.24 mg (0.20–0.28 mg) per 460 g meal, respectively (P <0.001).
TIA from the iron-biofortified potato meals was 45.8% higher than from the non-biofortified potato meals, suggesting iron biofortification of potatoes through conventional breeding is a promising approach to improve iron intakes in iron-deficient women (p<0.01).