The xanthophyll composition of biofortified maize (Zea mays Sp.) does not influence the bioefficacy of provitamin a carotenoids in Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus). Academic Article uri icon


  • Maize has been targeted for biofortification with provitamin A carotenoids through traditional breeding. Two studies were conducted in gerbils to evaluate factors that may affect provitamin A activity. Maize diets had equal theoretical concentrations of vitamin A (VA) assuming 100% bioefficacy. Study 1 ( n = 57) varied the ratio of beta-cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene but maintained the same theoretical VA. Study 2 ( n = 67) varied lutein and zeaxanthin. Other treatments were oil, VA, or beta-carotene doses. Serum and livers were analyzed for VA and carotenoids. In study 1, total liver VA did not differ among the maize groups. In study 2, total liver VA of the VA and maize groups were higher than controls ( P < 0.05). Conversion factors were 2.1-3.3 mug beta-carotene equivalents to 1 mug retinol. Twice the molar amount of beta-cryptoxanthin was as efficacious as beta-carotene and the proportion of beta-cryptoxanthin or xanthophylls did not appreciably change the VA value of biofortified maize.

published proceedings

  • J Agric Food Chem

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • Davis, Christopher R||Howe, Julie A||Rocheford, Torbert R||Tanumihardjo, Sherry A

publication date

  • August 2008