Development of a method for the determination of phytic acid

In the middle of the 19th century, particles of plant origin rich in phosphorus, calcium and magnesium were discovered that play an important role in plant germination.
Because of their unique presence in the plant kingdom, scientists have given them the name phytin. It is a molecule whose structure is composed of a carbohydrate ring with six phosphate groups attached to each carbon atom. The phosphate groups allow it to complex with various minerals.

In plants, phytates serve as storage for phosphorus and other minerals for the seed; and are hydrolysed during germination. They can form stable complexes with proteins and are complexed or can complex with minerals (notably iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium). As a result, in animal feed, they are considered to be anti-nutritional factors in meal because they reduce the quantity of digestible proteins in the ration, reduce the mineral intake and contribute to the phosphorus enrichment of excrement (an environmental problem in some productive farms).

The determination of phytic acid, although widely documented in the scientific literature, remains problematic for meal and oilseeds. In fact, few data on phytic acid content are available, or with sometimes very large differences. Finally, phytic acid can be present in different forms, more or less phosphorylated, which, depending on the analytical methods used, can also lead to significant variations in content. Finally, the degree of ripening of the seeds, the pre-treatment of the seeds, the method of obtaining meal... can have an impact on the quantity of phytic acid present in oilseeds.

In order to better understand the effects of technological processes on the amount of phytic acid in meal and therefore the resulting bioavailability of proteins, in 2018 ITERG began the development of a method for analysing total phytic acid in meal and oilseeds.
This project, supported by Terres Univia, led to the submission of an application for accreditation by the CoFrAc (French Accreditation Committee) in 2019. The official recognition obtained in 2020 guarantees the quality and accuracy of our phytic acid analyses.


Contact: Loïc Leitner, Head of Analytical Research, ITERG.