Few Micronesian foods have been analyzed for nutrient content. Information is needed on locally grown, culturally acceptable foods that could be promoted to alleviate vitamin A deficiency in the Federated States of Micronesia. Using an ethnographic approach that included key informant interviews and observation, Micronesian cultivars with potential for high-carotenoid content according to their coloration were identified. These cultivars of banana, giant swamp taro, breadfruit and other foods were analyzed for α - and β -carotene using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and for nine minerals using inductively coupled plasma (ICP). A wide range of provitamin A carotenoid levels was found in banana, taro, and breadfruit cultivars, some containing very high levels ( β -carotene content from 515 to 6360 μg/100 g in banana, 260 to 1651 μg/100 g in taro, and 295 to 868 μg/100 g in breadfruit, edible portion). Other cultivars contained moderate levels, but as they can be eaten in large quantities, they may contribute significantly to vitamin A status. The taro samples contained very high levels of zinc (mean 5.9 mg/100 g) and significant levels of other minerals (mean content of calcium was 120 mg/100 g). These staples with cultural acceptability and high availability potentially could play a role in vitamin A, micronutrient, and chronic disease programs in the Pacific.
Journal of Food Composition and Analysis – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2003
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