Vitamin A equivalence of the β-carotene in biofortified cassava in women

Liu, Wenhong
Major Professor
Wendy S. White
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Food Science and Human Nutrition

Cassava is an important food energy source in tropical and subtropical regions. There have been successful efforts to increase the β-carotene content in cassava through biofortification. However, the bioefficacy of the β-carotene in the biofortified cassava in humans has not been studied. In the present study, we investigated the bioefficacy of the β-carotene in biofortified cassava in 9 healthy women ages 18-39 y. After eating conventional foods with low β-carotene and vitamin A contents for three days, the subjects were asked to ingest one of the three cassava porridges in random order. All of the porridge servings were about 200 g and contained 40 g cassava flour. The three porridges included biofortified cassava porridge (1097.5 μg β-carotene), white cassava porridge with vitamin A reference dose (285.6 μg retinol) and white cassava porridge with β-carotene reference dose (537.6 μg β-carotene). Blood samples were collected prior to ingestion of the test porridge and at 2, 3.5, 5, 6.5, 9 hours after ingestion. Plasma triacylglycerol rich lipoproteins (chylomicrons and large VLDL) were isolated and the retinyl palmitate contents were analyzed by HPLC-ECD. The mean amounts of retinyl palmitate appearing in the triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein fraction in the entire plasma pool after ingestion of the biofortified cassava porridge and the white cassava porridge with the β-carotene reference dose were 1587.53 ± 285.27 and 914.35 ± 128.50 nmol. The vitamin A equivalence values of the β-carotene in these two porridges were 2.80 ± 1.77 to 1 and 2.11 ± 0.81 to 1 (by weight), respectively. These vitamin A equivalence values were not significantly different by t test. In our study population, the bioefficacy of the β-carotene in biofortified cassava was as good as that of a β-carotene supplement.