Studies of cream seeded carioca beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) from a Rwandan efficacy trial: in vitro and in vivo (including effects of intestinal microbiome) screening tools reflect human studies and predict beneficial results from iron biofortified beans

Abstract Number Theme Presentation Type Cover Approved
0212 Iron, zinc, vitamin A, iodine, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin D, multiple micronutrients Poster Not Approved


Abstract Content


The consumption of beans as a major food-crop in populations suffering from Fe-deficiency is relatively-high. OBJECTIVES: Determine whether a biofortified-variety of cream-seeded-carioca-bean (Phaseolus-vulgaris-L.) could provide more bioavailable-Fe than a standard-variety using in-vivo and in-vitro models.


Studies were designed to mimic the actual-human feeding-protocol. Two carioca-beans, a standard (G4825/58µg-Fe/g) and a biofortified (SMC/106µg-Fe/g), were utilized. Diets formulated to meet the nutrient requirements of Gallus-gallus except for Fe (33.7 and 48.7µg-Fe/g, standard/biofortified-diets, respectively).


In-vitro observations indicated that more bioavailable-Fe was present in the biofortified-beans and diet (P<0.05). In-vivo, improvements in Fe-status were observed in the biofortified-bean-treatment, as indicated by the increased Hemoglobin-Fe, and hepatic-Fe-concentration (P<0.05). DMT-1-expression was increased in the standard-bean-treatment (P<0.05), indicating an absorption upregulation (compensate for less-bioavailable-Fe). Results demonstrate that the biofortified-beans provided more bioavailable-Fe; however, in-vitro, ferritin-formation values were relatively-low. Such-observations are indicative of the presence of high-levels of polyphenols/phytate that inhibit-Fe-absorption. We identified higher-levels of phytate and quercetin-3-glucoside in the Fe-biofortified-bean-variety. Overall, the biofortified-beans moderately improved Fe-status, and that concurrent increase in the concentration of phytate/polyphenols in beans may limit the benefit of increased Fe-concentration. Specific targeting of such compounds during the breeding-process may yield improved dietary-Fe-bioavailability. Also, cecal-contents analysis indicated that Fe-status had altered the composition of the intestinal-microbiome.


Our findings agree with the human-efficacy-trial that demonstrated that the biofortified-carioca-beans improved the Fe-status of Rwandan-women. We suggest the utilization of these in-vitro and in-vivo screening-tools to guide studies aimed to develop and evaluate biofortified staple-food-crops. This approach has the potential to more effectively utilize research-funds and provides a means to monitor the nutritional-quality of the Fe-biofortified-crops.

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