Millet is a major food staple in Northwestern India and the Sahel in Africa. This grain’s drought resistance is resulting in progressively greater use. The purpose of this study was to determine the absorption of iron and zinc from pearl millet biofortified with two micronutrients that are typically deficient in non-fortified plantbased diets globally.
The study was undertaken in 40 children aged 2 y in Karnataka, India (n = 21 test/19 controls). Three test meals providing approximately 84 ± 17 g dry pearl millet flour were fed on a single day for zinc and 2 days for iron between 9 am and 4 pm. Quantities of zinc and iron absorbed were measured with established stable isotope extrinsic labeling techniques and analyses of duplicate diets.
The mean (±SD) quantities of iron absorbed from test and control groups were 0.54 ± 0.39 mg/d and 0.18 ± 0.13 mg/d respectively (P = 0.001). The quantities of zinc absorbed were 0.95 ± 0.47 mg/d and 0.67 ± 0.24 mg/d respectively (P = 0.03). These data did not include absorption of the modest quantities of iron and zinc contained in snacks eaten before and after the three test meals.
In conclusion, quantities of both iron and zinc absorbed when iron and zinc biofortified pearl millet is fed to children aged two y as the major food staple is more than adequate to meet the physiological requirements for these micronutrients.
Hambidge, K.M.; Bellad, R.M.; Mahantshetti, N.S.; Kodkany, B.S.; Boy, E.; Westcott, J.E.; Rai, K.N.; Cherian, B.; Miller, L.V.; Krebs, N.F. Bioavailability of iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) from Fe and Zn biofortified pearl millet. FASEB Journal (2013) 27 (Meeting Abstract Supplement) 638.21.