Plant Ferritin—A Source of Iron to Prevent Its Deficiency

Zielińska-Dawidziak, Magdalena
February 2015
Nutrients;2015, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p1184
Academic Journal
Iron deficiency anemia affects a significant part of the human population. Due to the unique properties of plant ferritin, food enrichment with ferritin iron seems to be a promising strategy to prevent this malnutrition problem. This protein captures huge amounts of iron ions inside the apoferritin shell and isolates them from the environment. Thus, this iron form does not induce oxidative change in food and reduces the risk of gastric problems in consumers. Bioavailability of ferritin in human and animal studies is high and the mechanism of absorption via endocytosis has been confirmed in cultured cells. Legume seeds are a traditional source of plant ferritin. However, even if the percentage of ferritin iron in these seeds is high, its concentration is not sufficient for food fortification. Thus, edible plants have been biofortified in iron for many years. Plants overexpressing ferritin may find applications in the development of bioactive food. A crucial achievement would be to develop technologies warranting stability of ferritin in food and the digestive tract.


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