Biofortified cassava increases β-carotene and vitamin A concentrations in the TAG-rich plasma layer of American women

Michael R. La Frano, Leslie R. Woodhouse, Dustin J. Burnett, Betty J. Burri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biofortification of cassava with the provitamin A carotenoid β-carotene is a potential mechanism for alleviating vitamin A deficiency. Cassava is a staple food in the African diet, but data regarding the human bioavailability of β-carotene from this food are scarce. The objective of the present study was to evaluate provitamin A-enhanced cassava as a source of β-carotene and vitamin A for healthy adult women. The study was a randomised, cross-over trial of ten American women. The subjects consumed three different porridges separated by 2 week washout periods. Treatment meals (containing 100Â g cassava) included: biofortified cassava (2Â mg β-carotene) porridge with added oil (15Â ml peanut or rapeseed oil, 20Â g total fat); biofortified cassava porridge without added oil (6Â g total fat); unfortified white cassava porridge with a 0·3Â mg retinyl palmitate reference dose and added oil (20Â g total fat). Blood was collected six times from -Â 0·5 to 9·5Â h post-feeding. TAG-rich lipoprotein (TRL) plasma was separated by ultracentrifugation and analysed using HPLC with coulometric array electrochemical detection. The AUC for retinyl palmitate increased after the biofortified cassava meals were fed (P<Â 0·05). Vitamin A conversion was 4·2 (sd 3·1) and 4·5 (sd 3·1)Â μg β-carotene:1Â μg retinol, with and without added oil, respectively. These results show that biofortified cassava increases β-carotene and retinyl palmitate TRL plasma concentrations in healthy well-nourished adult women, suggesting that it is a viable intervention food for preventing vitamin A deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-320
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 28 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • β-Carotene
  • Biofortified cassava
  • Human studies
  • Vitamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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