Increased calcium bioavailability in mice fed genetically engineered plants lacking calcium oxalate

Plant Mol Biol. 2007 Jul;64(5):613-8. doi: 10.1007/s11103-007-9180-9. Epub 2007 May 20.


Bioavailable calcium affects bone formation and calcification. Here we investigate how a single gene mutation altering calcium partitioning in the model forage crop Medicago truncatula affects calcium bioavailability. Previously, the cod5 M. truncatula mutant was identified which contains identical calcium concentrations to wild-type, but contains no oxalate crystals. In this study, equal number of male and female mice were randomly grouped and then fed one of four 45Ca-containing diets: M. truncatula extrinsically or intrinsically labeled, and cod5 extrinsically or intrinsically labeled. Absorption of the tracer was determined in the legs one day after consumption. The absorption was similar in the M. truncatula and cod5 extrinsically labeled diets; however, in the intrinsically labeled diets, calcium absorption was 22.87% (P < 0.001) higher in mice fed cod5. Our study presents the first genetic evidence demonstrating the nutritional impact of removing oxalate crystals from foods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Oxalate / metabolism*
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake
  • Medicago
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oxalic Acid / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism*
  • Spinacia oleracea


  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Oxalic Acid
  • Calcium