Bioaccessibility of provitamin A carotenoids in bananas (Musa spp.) and derived dishes in African countries
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Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) constitute an important component of the diet in Africa. Substantial levels of provitamin A carotenoids (pVACs) in Musa fruit have been reported, but the bioaccessibility of these pVACs remains unknown. In this study, we used an in vitro digestion model to assess the bioaccessibility (i.e. the transfer into micelles) of pVACs from boiled bananas and derived dishes using the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as a study context. In particular, the effect of different food ingredients added to boiled bananas on pVAC’s bioaccessibility was studied. The bioaccessibility of all-trans β-carotene ranged from 10% to 32%, depending on the food recipes, and was modified, particularly when pVACs-rich ingredients (palm oil/amaranth) were added. Efficiency of micellarization of all-trans β-carotene was similar to that of all-trans α-carotene and depended on the cultivar (Musilongo, plantain type, 16%; Vulambya, East African cooking type, 28%), while that of the 13-cis isomer was higher (21–33.5%). Taking into account bioaccessibility, the estimated vitamin A activity was significantly different across the different Musa-based dishes tested. Results are discussed in terms of recommendations to help reduce vitamin A deficiency in Musa-dependent African communities.