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Bioavailability is key to the effectiveness of functional foods. Among functional food components minerals have a key function in their essential role for a healthy life. Deficiencies in essential minerals are seen as a major nutritional problem in the world today. This review investigates the impact of food processing on the bioavailability of minerals. The findings of the last decade clearly show that there is no simple relation between food processing and bioavailability. Processing can have a positive impact through separation or partitioning of materials (enrichment), or through the destruction of inhibitors or the beneficial complex formation between food components and metal ions, thereby enhancing their availability. However, the impact can also be negative by deactivating enzymes that degrade inhibitors or by generating insoluble metal compounds (e.g. oxidation, precipitation). Potential for the modulation of bioavailability will arise when the speciation of metal ions and their fate in processing and in the body are better understood.

This is one of five technology theme papers produced within the concerted action 'Functional Food Science in Europe' (FUFOSE), which is part of the European Commission's Fourth Framework Programme for research and technological development.

Additional information

Authors: WATZKE H J, Nestec S.A., Nestlé Research Centre, Food Science and Process Research, Lausanne (CH)
Bibliographic Reference: A paper published in 'Functional food science in Europe - volume 2', EUR 18591 EN, pp.33-40.
Availability: EUR-OP reference: CG-NO-18591-EN-S; price: 71 euros (set of 3 volumes). Available from EUR-OP sales agents. URL:
ISBN: ISBN: 92-828-4776-4 (3
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