British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Molecular Nutrition

Homogenization, lyophilization or acid-extraction of meat products improves iron uptake from cereal–meat product combinations in an in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell model

Helena Pachóna1 c1, Rebecca J. Stoltzfusa1 and Raymond P. Glahna2

a1 Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Savage Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

a2 Robert W. Holley Center, US Department of Agriculture/ARS, Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA


The effect of processing (homogenization, lyophilization, acid-extraction) meat products on iron uptake from meat combined with uncooked iron-fortified cereal was evaluated using an in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell model. Beef was cooked, blended to create smaller meat particles, and combined with electrolytic iron-fortified infant rice cereal. Chicken liver was cooked and blended, lyophilized, or acid-extracted, and combined with FeSO4-fortified wheat flour. In the beef–cereal combination, Caco-2 cell iron uptake, assessed by measuring the ferritin formed by cells, was greater when the beef was blended for the greatest amount of time (360 s) compared with 30 s (P < 0·05). Smaller liver particles (blended for 360 s or lyophilized) significantly enhanced iron uptake compared to liver blended for 60 s (P < 0·001) in the liver–flour combination. Compared to liver blended for 60 s, acid-extraction of liver significantly enhanced iron uptake (P = 0·03) in the liver–flour combination. Homogenization of beef and homogenization, lyophilization, or acid-extraction of chicken liver increases the enhancing effect of meat products on iron absorption in iron-fortified cereals.

(Received February 07 2008)

(Revised June 02 2008)

(Accepted July 02 2008)

(Online publication August 28 2008)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Helena Pachón, fax +57 2 445 0073, email