In vitro bioaccessibility and bioavailability of iron from mature and microgreen fenugreek, rocket and broccoli

Kholoud K. Khoja, Amy Buckley, Mohamad F. Aslam, Paul A. Sharp, Gladys O. Latunde-Dada*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
130 Downloads (Pure)


Iron deficiency is a global epidemic affecting a third of the world’s population. Current efforts are focused on investigating sustainable ways to improve the bioavailability of iron in plantbased diets. Incorporating microgreens into the diet of at-risk groups in populations could be a useful tool in the management and prevention of iron deficiency. This study analysed and compared the mineral content and bioavailability of iron from microgreen and mature vegetables. The mineral content of rocket, broccoli and fenugreek microgreens and their mature counterparts was determined using microwave digestion and ICP-OES. Iron solubility and bioavailability from the vegetables were determined by a simulated gastrointestinal in vitro digestion and subsequent measurement of ferritin in Caco-2 cells as a surrogate marker of iron uptake. Iron contents of mature fenugreek and rocket were significantly higher than those of the microgreens. Mature fenugreek and broccoli showed significantly (p < 0.001) higher bioaccessibility and low-molecular-weight iron than found in the microgreens. Moreover, iron uptake by Caco-2 cells was significantly higher only from fenugreek microgreens than the mature vegetable. While all vegetables except broccoli enhanced FeSO4 uptake, the response to ferric ammonium citrate (FAC) was inhibitory apart from the mature rocket. Ascorbic acid significantly enhanced iron uptake from mature fenugreek and rocket. Microgreen fenugreek may be bred for a higher content of enhancers of iron availability as a strategy to improve iron nutrition in the populace.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1057
Pages (from-to)1-12
Issue number4
Early online date10 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Iron
  • Mature
  • Microgreen
  • Minerals
  • Vegetables


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