The effect of age on manganese uptake and retention from milk and infant formulas in rats

Carl L Keen, J. G. Bell, B. Lonnerdal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Manganese nutrition of the neonate is poorly understood, due in part to a paucity of information on the amount and availability of manganese in infant foods. We have developed a suckling pup model to assess the uptake of manganese from fluid diets by using extrinsic labeling. Human milk, cow milk, and infant formulas were fed by intubation to fasted rat pups and adults. Rats were killed after varying time periods, and tissues were removed and counted. A period of 6 h was found to be adequate to allow for stomach emptying while limiting tissue redistribution; 24 h was found to reflect pup manganese retention. From human milk, manganese retention was highest (≥80%) in pups ≤15 days of age; in older pups average retention decreased to 40%. Using d 14 pups to assess relative Mn uptake from diets, whole-body Mn uptake was highest from cow milk (~89%); uptake from human and cow milk formula was similar (~80%) whereas it was lower from soy formula (~60%). These findings suggest that bioavailability of Mn from infant diets is very high during the suckling period. Since most formulas contain considerably more manganese than is found in human milk, Mn deficiency may be less of a concern than possible toxicity from formulas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-402
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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