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The importance of minerals in human nutrition: Bioavailability, food fortification, processing effects and nanoencapsulation

Background: As minerals have diverse functionalities and potentials in the body's metabolism and homeostasis, deficiency of these bioactive constituents can result in an abundant incidence of common disorders and disease symptoms. Maintenance knowledge of the mineral content in terms of safe food fortification and processing techniques can significantly increase their absorption and bioavailability rate.

Scope and approach: This overview mainly discusses current investigations about the identification of high-available sources and remarkable functions of mineral elements, quantification methods for the bioavailability assessment, and influence of different processing practices and usual fortification strategies on mineral content and quality of staple food products.

Key findings and conclusions: The most dominant minerals to fortify various food preparations are iron,calcium, zinc and iodine. Utilization of isotopic approaches can sensitively determine the bioavailability values of food minerals. Modern processing techniques (e.g., high pressure and sonication) compared with the conventional processes have lower negative impacts on the content of micro- and macrominerals. Accumulation of mineral elements in the edible tissues of crops using agrobio technological techniques (e.g., gene over expression and activation control) and their direct fortification into formulation of processed foods along with nanoencapsulation could enhance the concentration and bioaccessibility of these bioactive ingredients.