Phytate (inositol hexaphosphate) hydrolysis by endogenous and exogenous phytases was studied for their effect on increasing iron availability in cereals. Wheat bran and whole meal flours of rye and oats were soaked at optimal conditions for phytase activity (55°C, pH 5) for different time intervals. Phytate and its degradation products were determined by HPLC and related to iron solubility under simulated physiological conditions. Small amounts of phytate (< lμmol/g) had a strong negative effect on iron solubility. When inositol hexa- and pentaphosphates of wheat bran and rye flour were completely hydrolyzed by activating endogenous phytase, iron solubility under simulated physiological conditions increased from 3 to 53% (wheat) and 5 to 21% (rye). Addition of wheat phytase to uncooked oatmeal increased iron solubility from 4 to 11 and in precooked to 18%, while endogenous phytase of uncooked oatmeal had less effect on phytate digestion and iron solubility.