Micromilling enhances iron bioaccessibility from wholegrain wheat

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Cereals constitute important sources of iron in human diet; however, much of the iron in wheat is lost during processing for the production of white flour. This study employed novel food processing techniques to increase the bioaccessibility of naturally occurring iron in wheat. Iron was localized in wheat by Perl's Prussian blue staining. Soluble iron from digested wheat flour was measured by a ferrozine spectrophotometric assay. Iron bioaccessibility was determined using an in vitro simulated peptic-pancreatic digestion, followed by measurement of ferritin (a surrogate marker for iron absorption) in Caco-2 cells. Light microscopy revealed that iron in wheat was encapsulated in cells of the aleurone layer and remained intact after in vivo digestion and passage through the gastrointestinal tract. The solubility of iron in wholegrain wheat and in purified wheat aleurone increased significantly after enzymatic digestion with Driselase, and following mechanical disruption using micromilling. Furthermore, following in vitro simulated peptic-pancreatic digestion, iron bioaccessibility, measured as ferritin formation in Caco-2 cells, from micromilled aleurone flour was significantly higher (52%) than from whole aleurone flour. Taken together our data show that disruption of aleurone cell walls could increase iron bioaccessibility. Micromilled aleurone could provide an alternative strategy for iron fortification of cereal products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11222-7
Number of pages6
Issue number46
Early online date7 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2014


  • Biological Availability
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Digestion
  • Flour
  • Food Handling
  • Humans
  • Intestines
  • Iron
  • Models, Biological
  • Seeds
  • Triticum


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