The consumption of teff (Eragrostis tef), a gluten-free cereal grain, has increased due to its dense nutrient composition including complex carbohydrates, unsaturated fatty acids, trace minerals (especially Fe), and phytochemicals. This study utilized the clinically-validated Gallus gallus intra amniotic feeding model to assess the effects of intra-amniotic administration of teff extracts versus controls using seven groups: (1) non-injected; (2) 18Ω H2O injected; (3) 5% inulin; (4) teff extract 1%; (5) teff extract 2.5%; (6) teff extract 5%; and (7) teff extract 7.5%. The treatment groups were compared to each other and to controls. Our data demonstrated a significant improvement in hepatic iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) concentration and LA:DGLA ratio without concomitant serum concentration changes, up-regulation of various Fe and Zn brush border membrane proteins, and beneficial morphological changes to duodenal villi and goblet cells. No significant taxonomic alterations were observed using 16S rRNA sequencing of the cecal microbiota. Several important bacterial metabolic pathways were differentially enriched in the teff group, likely due to teff’s high relative fiber concentration, demonstrating an important bacterial-host interaction that contributed to improvements in the physiological status of Fe and Zn. Therefore, teff appeared to represent a promising staple food crop and should be further evaluated.
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