Int J Biol Sci 2008; 4(1):58-62. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4.58

Research Paper

Bioavailability of Heme Iron in Biscuit Filling Using Piglets as an Animal Model for Humans

Adrián Guillermo Quintero-Gutiérrez1, Guillermina González-Rosendo1, Jonathan Sánchez-Muñoz1, Javier Polo-Pozo2, José Juan Rodríguez-Jerez3

1. Centro de Desarrollo de Productos Bióticos – CeProBi IPN. Apartado postal No. 24, Yautepec, Morelos, Mexico
2. APC – Europe, S.A. Research Department. Polígono Industrial Congost, Ave. San Julián, 246-258, 08403 Granollers Spain
3. Departamento de Ciencia Animal y de los Alimentos. Facultad de Veterinaria. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. 08193. Bellaterra (Barcelona) Spain.

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Quintero-Gutiérrez AG, González-Rosendo G, Sánchez-Muñoz J, Polo-Pozo J, Rodríguez-Jerez JJ. Bioavailability of Heme Iron in Biscuit Filling Using Piglets as an Animal Model for Humans. Int J Biol Sci 2008; 4(1):58-62. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4.58. Available from

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The objective of this work was to evaluate the bioavailability of heme iron added to biscuit filling. It comprised two stages: first, the development of the heme iron enriched biscuit filling; second, the evaluation of the bioavailability of the mineral in fattening piglets. Two groups were selected randomly and fed: a) Low iron feed and biscuits with heme iron supplemented filling; b) Normal feed (with ferrous sulphate). Weight and blood parameters were measured every fifteen days. Averages were compared after duplicate analyses. The filling had a creamy appearance, chocolate taste and smell, appropriate spreadability, heme iron content of 2.6 mg per gram and a shelf-life of a month. The heme iron supplemented pigs registered a greater (P<0.05) weight gain (27.8% more than the control group). Mortality in the heme iron group was 10%, compared to 50% in the control group. The amount of iron measured in the different compartment was greater in the heme group (3315 mg) than in the control group (2792 mg). However, the amount of iron consumed in the latter was greater. We show that an acceptable product with high heme iron content can be formulated, suitable for use as biscuit filling. The heme iron supplement produced better weight increase and lesser mortality in fattening pigs. The bioavailability of heme iron was 23% greater (P<0.05) compared to ferrous sulphate.

Keywords: Heme iron, bioavailability, pigs, piglets, iron deficiency.