To utilize in vitro and in vivo models of Fe and Zn bioavailability to screen select micronutrient-dense staple food crops (rice, wheat, maize, beans, sweet potato, and cassava) and identify those varieties that have high Fe and Zn bioavailability. In addition, these models will be used to investigate diet and food ingredient interactions that influence bioavailability of these minerals.
We propose to use a two-tiered approach in the evaluation of the bioavailability of Fe and Zn in select micronutrient-dense staple plant food genotypes under development in this project. First, we will employ the in vitro Caco-2 cell model to screen large numbers of promising micronutrient-dense genotypes of staple plant food crops for bioavailable Fe. Then, after using this approach to identify promising, Fe-enriched genotypes, we will employ a pig model to evaluate both Fe and Zn bioavailability in each select genotype in the context of whole diets typical of each reference region of the project. Samples that show promise in this collaborative research can then be advanced for human trials with other collaborators of the Harvest Plus program.