European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 95–102 | Cite as

Improved iron bioavailability in an oat-based beverage: the combined effect of citric acid addition, dephytinization and iron supplementation

  • Huanmei Zhang
  • Gunilla ÖnningEmail author
  • Rickard Öste
  • Elisabeth Gramatkovski
  • Lena Hulthén



Iron deficiency in children is a major worldwide nutritional problem. An oat beverage was developed for 1- to 3-year-old children and different treatments were used to improve the iron bioavailability.

Aim of the study

To investigate the effects of citric acid addition, phytase treatment and supplementation with different iron compounds on non-heme iron absorption in human from a mineral-supplemented oat-based beverage.


A 240 g portion of a 55Fe-labeled test product (T) or a 59Fe-labeled reference dose (R) was served as breakfast after overnight fasting on four consecutive days in the order of TRRT. On day 18 the retention of 59Fe was measured by a whole-body counter and the erythrocytes uptake of 55Fe and 59Fe by a liquid-scintillation counter. Forty-two healthy subjects (men and women) were randomized into four study groups, members of each being given one of the studied four products (A, B, C, and D) supplemented with Fe (1.3 mg/portion), Zn, Ca, Se and P. Ferric ammonium citrate (FeAC) was added to products A, B, and C and ferric pyrophosphate (FePP) to product D. Citric acid (60 mg/portion) was added to products B, C, and D and phytase treatment applied to products C and D.


Citric acid improved iron absorption by 54% from 3.9% in product A to 6.0% in product B (p = 0.051). Phytase treatment increased iron absorption by 78% (from 6.0 to 10.7%, p = 0.003) by reducing the phytate-phosphorus content per portion from 16.3 mg in product B to 2.8 mg in product C. The two compounds gave similar iron absorption rates (p = 0.916).


A combination of citric acid addition, dephytinization and iron supplementation significantly increased the iron absorption in an oat-based beverage. Such a beverage can be useful in the prevention of iron deficiency in 1- to 3-year-old children.


iron absorption iron supplementation phytase citric acid adults 



This work was supported by CEBA Foods AB, Sweden. We thank all subjects for their cooperation; Angie Öste Triantafyllou for enzyme preparation and Benny Wraae for the production of the studied products.


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huanmei Zhang
    • 1
  • Gunilla Önning
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rickard Öste
    • 2
  • Elisabeth Gramatkovski
    • 3
  • Lena Hulthén
    • 3
  1. 1.Biomedical Nutrition, Centre for Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Centre for Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringLund UniversityLundSweden
  3. 3.Dept. of Clinical NutritionSahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden

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