Method development for the quantification of ferritin in staple food crops
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Biofortification is a strategy for combating iron deficiency that involves the selective breeding of food crops to increase total bioavailable iron. Evidence that ferritin is a good source of bioavailable iron has created interest for increasing ferritin concentrations in seeds. However the successful implementation of ferritin biofortification requires a method to rapidly measure ferritin in staple food crops. In this study, we developed an indirect ELISA to quantify ferritin in red beans, white beans, wheat, maize, and brown rice. This required the production of an anti-ferritin antibody that is immunoreactive with all seed ferritins, the development of a rapid method for the crude extraction of ferritin from the seeds, and the use of immunoblotting techniques to verify immunoreactivity of the antibodies. This simple and reliable assay will facilitate the rapid screening of large numbers of seeds that can be used by plant breeders to identify and breed ferritin-rich crops.