Biofortification of fermented foods with selected yeasts for raised folate content and mineral availability
Conference poster, 2014
The goal of this project is to achieve natural biofortification of iron, zinc and folate in foods via selected yeasts. Deficiencies of iron, zinc and folate are prevalent in many parts of the world, especially where cereal based food comprises a large part of the food intake, but also in the western world where meat-free diets, such as vegetarian or vegan diets, has become more popular. Cereals contain several minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium, but it also contains the anti-nutrient phytate, which limits the bioavailability and gastrointestinal uptake of those minerals (1). Folate and mineral deficiencies are related to a range of health issues from mild to lethal (2). Deficiencies can sometimes be prevented by synthetic fortification, but this is not always a feasible solution due to e.g. availability or economy. There are also studies showing an increased risk of overdosing from synthetic supplements (3), which can lead to increased risk of developing some types of cancer (4). Fortification with synthetic folate may also mask deficiency of vitamin B12, something that can result in neurological damages (5).
For mentioned reasons, it is of great significance to find ways to naturally fortify foods with folic acid, and to increase the bioavailability of the naturally present minerals in cereal based foods to limit the development of mineral deficiencies. This project focuses on natural biofortification using yeast strains that i) can degrade phytate and ii) synthetize natural folate. Yeast synthesized folates are believed to not mask vitamin B12 deficiencies (5). Phytate degrading yeasts allow natural release of minerals already present in the food matrix, hence less need for synthetic fortification and thereby less risk of overdosing.
phytase folate yeast mineral availability