Cassava with enhanced β-carotene maintains adequate vitamin A status in Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) despite substantial cis-isomer content.
Efforts to increase β-carotene in cassava have been successful, but the ability of high-β-carotene cassava to prevent vitamin A deficiency has not been determined. Two studies investigated the bioefficacy of provitamin A in cassava and compared the effects of carotenoid content and variety on vitamin A status in vitamin A-depleted Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus). Gerbils were fed a vitamin A-free diet 4 weeks prior to treatment. In Expt 1, treatments (ten gerbils per group) included 45% high-β-carotene cassava, β-carotene and vitamin A supplements (intake matched to high-β-carotene cassava group), and oil control. In Expt 2, gerbils were fed cassava feeds with 1·8 or 4·3 nmol provitamin A/g prepared with two varieties. Gerbils were killed after 4 weeks. For Expt 1, liver vitamin A was higher (P
British Journal of Nutrition (2009), 102: 342-349 [doi: 10.1017/S0007114508184720]