Carotenoid profiles in provitamin A-containing fruits and vegetables affect the bioefficacy in Mongolian gerbils. Academic Article uri icon


  • Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of provitamin A carotenoids. We evaluated the vitamin A (VA) bioefficacy of a whole foods supplement (WFS) and its constituent green vegetables (Study 1) and a variety of fruits with varying ratios of provitamin A carotenoids (Study 2) in VA-depleted Mongolian gerbils (n = 77/study). After feeding a VA-deficient diet for 4 and 6 weeks in Studies 1 and 2, respectively, customized diets, equalized for VA, were fed for 4 and 3 weeks, respectively. Both studies utilized negative and VA-positive control groups. In Study 1, liver VA was highest in the VA group (0.82 +/- 0.16 micromol/liver, P < 0.05), followed by brussels sprouts (0.50 +/- 0.15 micromol/liver), Betanat (beta-carotene from Blakeslea trispora) (0.50 +/- 0.12 micromol/liver) and spinach (0.47 +/- 0.09 micromol/liver) groups, which did not differ from baseline. The WFS (0.44 +/- 0.06 micromol/liver) and kale (0.43 +/- 0.14 micromol/liver) groups had lower liver VA than the baseline group (P < 0.05), but did not differ from the brussels sprouts, Betanat and spinach groups. In Study 2, liver VA was highest in the orange (0.67 +/- 0.18 micromol/liver), papaya (0.67 +/- 0.15 micromol/liver) and VA (0.66 +/- 0.14 micromol/liver) groups, followed by the mango (0.58 +/- 0.09 micromol/liver) and tangerine (0.55 +/- 0.15 micromol/liver) groups. These groups did not differ from baseline. The banana group (0.47 +/- 0.15 micromol/liver) was unable to maintain baseline stores of VA and did not differ from the control (0.46 +/- 0.13 mumol/liver). These fruits (except banana), vegetables and the WFS were able to prevent VA deficiency in Mongolian gerbils and could be an effective part of food-based interventions to support VA nutrition in developing countries and worldwide.

published proceedings

  • Exp Biol Med (Maywood)

author list (cited authors)

  • Arscott, S. A., Howe, J. A., Davis, C. R., & Tanumihardjo, S. A

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Arscott, Sara A||Howe, Julie A||Davis, Christopher R||Tanumihardjo, Sherry A

publication date

  • July 2010