to develop a stable iron fortified food formulation containing fruit by studying the interaction between iron and polyphenols in model system and translating this knowledge into food products.
Iron-polyphenol interaction was studied in model/food systems using process conditions relevant to food production following a methodology based on colour.
Phenolic compounds commonly present in fruits like catechols and pyrogallols showed the strongest reactivity in presence of iron. The reaction was found proportional to the pH of the formulation, polyphenols concentration, and heat. Three strategies showed reduction of the reactivity of polyphenols in presence of iron: 1) pH adjustment; 2) saturation of polyphenols with Ca2+/Mg2+; 3) complexation of iron with organic acids. The latest being the most effective solution. The findings in model systems gave a good insight for colour changes, and results were transferable to iron fortified banana puree.
Micronutrient fortification is a cost-effective approach to reduce malnutrition but its implementation is not always straightforward as stability, cost, and bioavailability are highly critical and rarely available in a single solution. Thus, good understanding of reaction mechanisms involved in the degradation of fortified food products helps to develop stable formulations through the use of appropriate process conditions and/or functional ingredients, matching product quality and stability.