Fractional apparent absorption of Zn and Ca from a wheat-milk-based infant cereal was studied in six healthy infants (18-30 weeks old). Mineral absorption was measured by a stable-isotope technique based on faecal excretion of the isotopes. Each test meal (40 g cereal) was extrinsically labelled with 70Zn and 42Ca before intake. All faecal material passed during the 21 d following intake of the labelled test meal was collected on trace-element-free nappies. Individual stool samples were analysed for their content of 70Zn and 42Ca by thermal ionization mass spectrometry. Apparent absorption was calculated as intake minus total faecal excretion of the isotopes over 68-92 h after administration. The fractional apparent absorption values for Zn and Ca were 33.9 (SD 16.4)% (range 19.2-63.9%) and 53.5 (SD 12.6)% (range 36.7-71.7%) respectively. Re-excretion of absorbed 70Zn (> 68-92 h to 21 d after intake of the labelled meal) was 0.44 (SD 0.38)% of administered dose while only one infant re-excreted detectable amounts of 42Ca (1.74% of administered dose). The analysis of individual stool samples confirmed that 72 h is a sufficient time period for complete collections of non-absorbed isotopes in faecal material from infants during the weaning period and that re-excretion of initially absorbed 70Zn and 42Ca (> 68-92 h to 21 d after intake of the labelled meal) is negligible.
- Stable isotope
- Weaning cereal