Background: β-Carotene–biofortified maize is being developed through plant breeding as a sustainable agronomic approach to alleviate vitamin A deficiency.
Objective: Our objective was to quantify the vitamin A equivalence of the β-carotene in β-carotene–biofortified maize based on consumption of a single serving of maize porridge.
Design: Six healthy women each consumed three 250-g portions of maize porridge as follows: 1) β-carotene–biofortified maize porridge containing 527 μg (0.98 μmol) total β-carotene, 2) white maize porridge with a β-carotene reference dose containing 595 μg (1.11 μmol) added β-carotene, and 3) white maize porridge with a vitamin A reference dose containing 286 μg retinol activity equivelent (1.00 μmol) added retinyl palmitate. Each portion contained 8.0 g added sunflower oil. The porridges were consumed in random order separated by ≥2 wk. Blood samples were collected over 9 h. Retinyl palmitate was analyzed in plasma triacylglycerol–rich lipoprotein (TRL) fractions by HPLC with coulometric array electrochemical detection.
Results: Mean (±SD) areas under the curve for retinyl palmitate in the TRL fractions (nmol ⋅ h) were 24.0 ± 9.4, 89.7 ± 34.7, and 80.1 ± 24.8 after ingestion of the β-carotene–biofortified maize porridge, the white maize porridge with the β-carotene reference dose, and the white maize porridge with the vitamin A reference dose, respectively. On average, 6.48 ± 3.51 μg (mean ± SD) of the β-carotene in β-carotene–biofortified maize porridge and 2.34 ± 1.61 μg of the β-carotene in the reference dose were each equivalent to 1 μg retinol.
Conclusion: β-Carotene in biofortified maize has good bioavailability as a plant source of vitamin A.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010) 92 (5) 1105-1112 [ doi: 10.3945/&#8203;ajcn.2010.29802]