By identifying the relationship between calcium location in the plant cell and nutrient bioavailability, the plant characteristics leading to maximal calcium absorption by humans can be identified. Knowledge of plant cellular and molecular targets controlling calcium location in plants is emerging. These insights should allow for better strategies for increasing the nutritional content of foods. In particular, the use of preparation-free elemental imaging technologies such as synchrotron X-ray fluorescence (SXRF) microscopy in plant biology may allow researchers to understand the relationship between subcellular location and nutrient bioavailability. These approaches may lead to better strategies for altering the location of calcium within the plant to maximize its absorption from fruits and vegetables. These modified foods could be part of a diet for children and adults identified as at-risk for low calcium intake or absorption with the ultimate goal of decreasing the incidence and severity of inadequate bone mineralization.
Keywords: antinutrient; bioavailability; biofortification; bone mineralization; calcium; oxalate; synchrotron X-ray fluorescence (SXRF).