Biotech Updates

Better Beans as Solution to Iron Deficiency

May 13, 2010

Beans add flavor and texture in chili, soups, and other common dishes all over the world. It is a good source of iron which is important in various biological processes of the body. Thus, Raymond P. Glahn of the U.S. Department of  Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (ARS), together with other scientists, are conducting a study to improve the amount of iron that can be absorbed by the body from beans. The result of their study is expected to benefit more than two billion iron-deficient individuals.

In their initial laboratory test, the team used human intestinal cells that showed how the human digestive system absorbs nutrients from beans. This is followed by several animal tests that led them to the use of chicken as the most efficient model for iron-absorption studies due to their sensitivity to iron deficiency. Further investigation confirmed that less iron can be absorbed by animals from red beans than in white beans.

View the ARS feature article at