Overcoming iron deficiency anemia remains a significant burden, especially among individuals living in rural highlands of Latin America where potatoes are a major dietary ingredient. Through conventional breeding, it has been possible to develop iron biofortified yellow-fleshed potatoes. However, the existing literature does not include information concerning the bioavailability of iron from biofortified potatoes. Burgos and colleagues conducted a study in the highlands of Peru to determine iron bioavailability from these potatoes and they published their results in the June 2023 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

Women (n = 28) were enrolled in a single-blinded, randomized crossover, multiple-meal intervention study to determine iron absorption from a traditional, yellow-fleshed potato and an iron biofortified clone. The participants consumed 10 meals of each potato (460 grams), with each meal being extrinsically labeled with either 58Fe sulfate (biofortified) or 57Fe sulfate (nonfortified) on consecutive days. Iron isotopic composition in erythrocytes 14 days after administration of the final meal was used to estimate iron absorption.

Iron-biofortified meals contained (all units are mg/100 mg) 0.63 iron, 0.31 phytic acid, 39.34 ascorbic acid, and 15.15 chlorogenic acid whereas the non-biofortified meals contained 3.10 iron, 7.65 phytic acid, 3.74 ascorbic acid, and 22.52 chlorogenic acid. Fractional iron absorption was 12.1% from the biofortified clone and 16.6% from the nonbiofortified clone, and total iron absorption was 0.35 mg and 0.24 mg for the biofortified and nonbiofortified potatoes, respectively. The authors concluded that biofortification may be a viable approach to improve iron intake in iron-deficient women as it leads to increased total iron absorption.


Burgos G, Liria R, Zeder C, Kroon PA, Hareau G, Penny M, et al. Total iron absorbed from iron-biofortified potatoes is higher than that from nonbiofortified potatoes: A randomized trial using stable iron isotopes in women from the Peruvian highlands. Journal of Nutrition, Volume 153, Issue 6, June 2023, Pages 1710-1717, doi.org/10.1016/j.tjnut.2023.04.010.

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