Effect of Ash Filtrate and Rock Salt on Micronutrient Powders.
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Rock salt and ash filtrate are used in food preparation in most Ugandan traditional communities. Micronutrient powders (MNPs) are ready-to-use home-based nutritional supplements recommended by Uganda Ministry of Health to combat micronutrient malnutrition in young children. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of rock salt and ash filtrate on iron and zinc bioavailability of MNP-fortified beans. pH analysis was carried out using a digital pH meter; the prepared powdery (5g) sample would be dissolved in concentrated Hydrochloric acid, filtration done and then diluted to 50mL. The bioavailability assessment was done based on in vitro digestion of the bean sample following Miller method, 1981. Mineral elemental composition in each sample was established using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry technique. The AAS results were read in milligrams per Liter and after expressed in milligrams per Kilogram. Bioavailability of iron and zinc was expressed as percentages. The results show that ash filtrate had the highest pH (12.06), followed by rock salt (pH10.88) while MNP had a low pH (2.49). Addition of ash filtrate addition to MNP-fortified beans decreased iron bioavailability by 17.04% and increased zinc bioavailability by 79.50%, while the addition of rock salt decreased iron bioavailability by 5.02% and increased zinc bioavailability by 16.06%. The increase in zinc bioavailability could be due to other factors such as amino acids like cysteine, histidine, methionine, and threonine present after protein digestion since beans were rich protein sources. The mentioned amino acids are said to be potential enhancers of zinc absorption hence its bioavailability. Much as this is so, but also the ash filtrate and rock salt alkalinity properties play an additional role of promoting the pancreatin catalysis for the digestion process leading to these important amino acids. I recommend that the localities still in use of ash filtrate and rock salt especially the Northern and Eastern Ugandan community members be informed of the negative impact out of the use of these condiments alongside use of MNP nutritional supplements. The likely risk being increased anemia and other associated iron deficiency disorders.