Plants that undergo C4 photosynthesis, such as maize, are enriched in the stable isotope of carbon (13C) compared with other dietary plants and foods. Consumption of maize that has been biofortified to contain elevated levels of provitamin A carotenoids (orange maize) increased the abundance of 13C in serum retinol of Mongolian gerbils.
The authors evaluated this method in humans to determine if it has potential for further use in intervention effectiveness studies. A random subset of samples from a two-month randomized controlled feeding trial of rural 3-5 year old Zambian children were used to determine the impact of orange maize intake on serum carotenoid concentrations (n = 88) and 13C-natural abundance in serum retinol (n = 77).
This work is an output of the HarvestPlus Programme. The Department for International Development is one of the main donors for HarvestPlus.
Sheftel Jesse, Bryan M. Gannon, Christopher R. Davis, and Sherry A Tanumihardjo. 2017. “Provitamin-A biofortified maize consumption increases serum zanthophylls and 13C-natural abundance of retinol in Zambian children.” Experimental Biology and Medicine 242 (15): 1508-1514. https://doi.org/10.1177/1535370217728500.
Provitamin-A biofortified maize consumption increases serum zanthophylls and 13C-natural abundance of retinol in Zambian children