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American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 89  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 1776 - 1783

Golden Rice is an effective source of vitamin A

G Tang, J Qin and G. G Dolnikowski

Abstract

Background: Genetically engineered "Golden Rice" contains up to 35 µg β-carotene per gram of rice. It is important to determine the vitamin A equivalency of Golden Rice β-carotene to project the potential effect of this biofortified grain in rice-consuming populations that commonly exhibit low vitamin A status.

Objective: The objective was to determine the vitamin A value of intrinsically labeled dietary Golden Rice in humans.

Design: Golden Rice plants were grown hydroponically with heavy water (deuterium oxide) to generate deuterium-labeled [2H]β-carotene in the rice grains. Golden Rice servings of 65–98 g (130–200 g cooked rice) containing 0.99–1.53 mg β-carotene were fed to 5 healthy adult volunteers (3 women and 2 men) with 10 g butter. A reference dose of [13C10]retinyl acetate (0.4–1.0 mg) in oil was given to each volunteer 1 wk before ingestion of the Golden Rice dose. Blood samples were collected over 36 d.

Results: Our results showed that the mean (±SD) area under the curve for the total serum response to [2H]retinol was 39.9 ± 20.7 µg·d after the Golden Rice dose. Compared with that of the [13C10]retinyl acetate reference dose (84.7 ± 34.6 µg·d), Golden Rice β-carotene provided 0.24–0.94 mg retinol. Thus, the conversion factor of Golden Rice β-carotene to retinol is 3.8 ± 1.7 to 1 with a range of 1.9–6.4 to 1 by weight, or 2.0 ± 0.9 to 1 with a range of 1.0–3.4 to 1 by moles.

Conclusion: β-Carotene derived from Golden Rice is effectively converted to vitamin A in humans. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00680355.

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