While replacing electrolytic iron with NaFeEDTA in multi-micronutrient fortificationmixes
is a popular option, there is no information about the effect on the iron and
zinc availabilities in African staple foods. This study evaluated the effects of adding a
multi-micronutrientfortification-mix, with no iron, electrolytic iron or NaFeEDTA on the availabilities of iron and zinc from thick and fermented special-grade maize
porridgesusing a Caco-2 cell model. Replacing electrolytic iron with NaFeEDTA
significantly (p≤0.05) increased iron and, importantly zinc, availabilities in both the
thick (2.16 vs. 1.45% and 2.51 vs. 2.29%, respectively) and fermented (3.35 vs.
2.66% and 3.04 vs. 2.61%, respectively) porridges. Some of the NaFeEDTA
complexes perhaps partially dissociated because of pH changes duringsimulated
digestion, binding with zinc and increasing its availability. NaFeEDTA in a multimicronutrient
fortification-mix, added to less refined, high phytate maize meal, would
be more effective than electrolytic iron in addressing both iron and zinc deficiencies
in low socio-economic populations of sub-Saharan Africa.