The aim of this study was to characterize the Zn and Fe availability by phytic acid/Zn and phytic acid/Fe molar ratios, in 22 tropical maize inbred lines with different genetic backgrounds. The Zn and Fe levels were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry and the P through colorimetry method. Three screening methods for phytic acid (Phy) analysis were tested and one, based on the 2,2'-bipyridine reaction, was select. There was significant variability in the contents of zinc (17.5 to 42 mg.kg-1), iron (12.2 to 36.7 mg.kg-1), phosphorus (230 to 400 mg.100 g-1), phytic acid (484 to 1056 mg.100 g-1), phytic acid P (140 to 293 mg.100 g-1) and available-P (43.5 to 199.5 mg.100 g-1), and in the available-P/total-P ratio (0.14 to 0.50), Phy/Zn (18.0 to 43.5) and Phy/Fe (16.3 to 45.5) molar ratios. Lines 560977, 560978 and 560982 had greater availability of Zn and lines 560975, 560977, 561010 and 5610111 showed better Fe availability. Lines 560975, 560977 and 560978 also showed better available-P/total-P ratio. Thus, the lines 560975, 560977 and 560978 were considered to have the potential for the development of cultivars of maize with high availability of Fe and/or Zn.
phytate/Fe and phytate/Zn molar ratio; Zea mays; biofortification