MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: How is calcium stored in liquid vs. non-liquid foods (milk vs. cerials etc)

Date: Fri Sep 29 08:47:38 2000
Posted By: Alfred Bushway, Professor of Food Science
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 969944278.Ch


In some ways, the Ca found in foods like milk are similar to that found in 
plants, but there are differences. In milk and dairy prodcuts much of the 
Ca is found as Ca ions (associated with the whey protein alpha-lactalbumin) 
or as Ca phosphate (associated with some of the casein proteins). Being 
associated with milk proteins, which are very digestable, makes this Ca 
more bioavailable than Ca found in plants. In plants, the Ca is also in the 
forms of salts (oxalate, citrate, etc.), which are less soluble making the 
Ca less bioavailable. Plants can also contain antinutrients (chealtors 
which can bind divalent cations such as Ca) which can bind minerals and 
make them less available. Cooking does aide in reducing the effect of some 
of these antinutrients. Some Ca ions are involved in muscle contraction and 
as cofacotors for enzymatic reactions but this is only a small amount of 
the total concentration in animals or plants. In vertebrates, much of the 
Ca is found associated with bone. I hope this helps to answer you 


Al Bushway
Professor of Fod Science

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