Phytic Acid

Bran of grains and pseudo-grains, all kind of seeds, nuts, legumes, potatoes.
Birds and ruminant animals: phytase enzyme. Partially by soaking, cooking, fermenting, sprouting.

Binding with minerals of food in the gut: deficiency of iron, zinc, calcium and other minerals. Reduces the digestibility of starches, proteins, and fats.

Phytic acid occurs naturally throughout the plant kingdom and is present in considerable quantities within many of the major legumes and oilseeds. This includes soybean, rapeseed and cotton seed. Matyka et al. (1993) reported that about 62-73% and 46-73% of the total phosphorus within cereal grains and legume seeds being in form of organically bound phytin phosphorus, respectively. As phytic acid accumulates in storage sites in seeds, other minerals apparently chelates to it forming the complex salt phytate (Erdman, 1979). Studies by Martinez (1977) revealed that in oilseeds, which contain little or no endosperm, the phytates are distributed throughout the kernel found within subcellular inclusions called aleurone grains or protein bodies. Whole soybeans have been reported to contain 1-2% phytic acids (Weingartner, 1987; Osho, 1993). The major part of the phosphorus contained within phytic acid are largely unavailable to animals due to the absence of the enzyme phytase within the digestive tract of monogastric animals. Nwokolo and Bragg (1977) reported that in the chicken there is a significant inverse relationship between phytic acid and the availability of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc in feedstuffs such as rapeseed, palm kernel seed, cotton seed and soybean meals. Phytic acid acts as a strong chelator, forming protein and mineral-phytic acid complexes; the net result being reduced protein and mineral bioavailability (Erdman, 1979; Spinelli et al., 1983; Khare, 2000). Phytic acid is reported to chelate metal ions such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron and molybdenum to form insoluble complexes that are not readily absorbed from gastrointestinal tract. Phytic acid also inhibits the action of gastrointestinal tyrosinase, trypsin, pepsin, lipase and “-amylase (Liener, 1980; Hendricks and Bailey, 1989; Khare, 2000). Erdman (1979) stated that the greatest effect of phytic acid on human nutrition is its reduction of zinc bioavailability.

Phytate in foods and significance for humans: food sources, intake, processing, bioavailability, protective role and analysis


The article gives an overview of phytic acid in food and of its significance for human nutrition. It summarises phytate sources in foods and discusses problems of phytic acid/phytate contents of food tables. Data on phytic acid intake are evaluated and daily phytic acid intake depending on food habits is assessed. Degradation of phytate during gastro-intestinal passage is summarised, the mechanism of phytate interacting with minerals and trace elements in the gastro-intestinal chyme described and the pathway of inositol phosphate hydrolysis in the gut presented. The present knowledge of phytate absorption is summarised and discussed. Effects of phytate on mineral and trace element bioavailability are reported and phytate degradation during processing and storage is described. Beneficial activities of dietary phytate such as its effects on calcification and kidney stone formation and on lowering blood glucose and lipids are reported. The antioxidative property of phytic acid and its potentional anticancerogenic activities are briefly surveyed. Development of the analysis of phytic acid and other inositol phosphates is described, problems of inositol phosphate determination and detection discussed and the need for standardisation of phytic acid analysis in foods argued.

Phytate content of foods: effect on dietary zinc bioavailability


The phytate content of several foods is presented. Published zinc values were used to calculate phytate:zinc molar ratios. These ratios can be used to estimate the relative risk of having an inadequate intake of zinc. They may be used in planning menus to select the combination of foods that will supply the most available zinc to the daily diet. On the basis of animal experiments to date, a daily phytate:zinc molar ratio of 10 or less is thought to be acceptable in providing adequate dietary zinc, and daily ratios consistently above 20 may jeopardize zinc status. Many factors other than the daily dietary phytate:zinc molar ratio influence zinc nutriture, but the ratio concept is a tool which may contribute to a more accurate assessment of zinc status.

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