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Keywords:

  • jackfruit;
  • carotenoids;
  • bioavailability;
  • bioconversion

Abstract

Vitamin A deficiency is of public health importance in Sri Lanka. Carotenoids are a significant source of provitamin A. The objective of this study was to analyse the carotenoid composition of jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus sinhala: Waraka) kernel using MPLC and visible spectrophotometry and to determine the bioavailability and bioconversion of carotenoids present in jackfruit kernel by monitoring (i) the growth and (ii) levels of retinol and carotenoids in the liver and serum of Wistar rats provided with jackfruit incorporated into a standard daily diet. Carotenoid pigments were extracted using petroleum ether/methanol and saponified using 10% methanolic potassium hydroxide. Six carotenoids were detected in jackfruit kernel. The carotenes β-carotene, α-carotene, β-zeacarotene, α-zeacarotene and β-carotene-5,6-epoxide and a dicarboxylic carotenoid, crocetin, were identified, corresponding theoretically to 141.6 retinol equivalents (RE) per 100 g. Our study indicated that jackfruit is a good source of provitamin A carotenoids, though not as good as papaya. Serum retinol concentrations in rats supplemented with jackfruit carotenoids were significantly higher (p = 0.008) compared with the control group. The same was true for liver retinol (p = 0.006). Quantification was carried out by RP-HPLC. These results show that the biological conversion of provitamin A in jackfruit kernel appears satisfactory. Thus increased consumption of ripe jackfruit could be advocated as part of a strategy to prevent and control vitamin A deficiency in Sri Lanka. Copyright © 2004 Society of Chemical Industry