Bioavailability of Essential Minerals from Staples Commonly Consumed in the Tropics

Lowell L. Dilworth, Kesi J. Brown, Helen N. Asemota


This study assessed essential minerals in sweet cassava (Manihot esculenta), Lucea yam (Dioscorea rotundata), plantain (Musa sp.) and pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) by atomic absorption spectrophotometry while mineral bioavailabilities were assessed by in vitro enzymatic digestion.

Undigested cassava samples displayed highest calcium concentrations (3150 ± 320 mg/Kg) while the highest iron concentrations were recorded in pumpkin samples (81.5 ± 4.7 mg/Kg). Magnesium concentrations were highest in ripe plantain samples (963 ± 15.18 mg/Kg) while the highest zinc concentrations were recorded in cassava (15.23 ± 4.07mg/Kg). Cooked samples displayed higher percentages of available minerals than uncooked ones with unripe plantain displaying highest percentage soluble calcium (12.945), iron (37.19%) and magnesium (23.37%) while the highest percentage soluble zinc was observed in sweet cassava (9.87%).

The samples assessed are important contributors of essential dietary minerals especially in the cooked states. These staples have untapped potential for increased economic relevance especially with increasing costs of food production. Studies aimed at increasing mineral bioavailability in some samples are needed.

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Journal of Food Research   ISSN 1927-0887 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0895 (Online)  E-mail:

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