Iron and heme iron concentrations in three different pork cuts compared with chicken filet


Iron and heme iron concentrations in three different pork cuts compared with chicken filet


Journal of Food and Clinical Nutrition is going to publish an article about Iron and heme iron concentrations in three different pork cuts compared with chicken filet. by Lene Meinert, Danish Technological Institute, Denmark. Here we are explaining a short note on that article.

Iron is a mineral of great importance to human nutrition. Iron is found in various foods, including sesame seed, oatmeal, pork, beef, and leguminous plants, just to mention a few. In meat, iron is present in two chemical forms: heme iron and non-heme iron. It is well established that human uptake of heme iron is generally more efficient than human uptake of non-heme iron.

Meat from different species is, often grouped and referred to as “red meat” and “white meat”. However, there is no conclusive definition of this grouping, which may be the reason why it is debated on a regular basis. The term “red meat” is related to the colour of the meat, which is closely linked to the content of heme iron. On several official websites, red meat is defined as meat from mammals. However, some pork cuts, such as filet, are visually whiter than red compared with, for example, beef or veal cuts. The National Pork Board, among others, promotes pork as “the other white meat”.

Chemical analysis

 The samples for iron determination were pressure-digested with diluted nitric acid in a microwave oven [Anton Paar] in accordance with DS/EN13805 (8). The diluted samples were analyzed by ICP-OES [inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry,  

Statistical analysis

The two sets of chemical results, total iron and heme iron, from four types of meat sample [pork shoulder, pork loin, pork topside, and chicken filet] can be assumed to be normally distributed with slightly uneven variances. Even though the precondition, the variance homogeneity, for an ordinary analysis of variance is not fully met, the robustness of the analysis is considered high and the variance inhomogeneity is ignored

CONCLUSION: Few values for the concentration of total iron and especially heme iron in different pork cuts can be found in the literature and food databases. In the present study, we found that the total iron concentration was 0.30 mg/100 g [loin], 0.44 mg/100 g [topside] and 0.84 mg/100 g [shoulder]. Chicken filet had a total iron content of 0.32 mg/100 g. The percentage of heme iron was 57% [loin], 55% [topside], 64% [shoulder] and 35% [chicken filet]. There was no significant difference between the total iron contents in pork loin and chicken filet. However, the heme iron contents in the pork cuts were significantly higher than the content in the chicken filet.

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Journal of Food and Clinical Nutrition

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