1. The absorption of zinc in humans from composite meals, was determined by extrinsic labelling of the meals with 65Zn and measurement of the whole-body retention of the radioisotope.
2. Low-Zn (mean 25 μmol) chicken meals with 150 g white bread or 225 g potatoes, carrots, turnips, cabbage or green peas were studied. The effect of a beet-pulp-fibre preparation used as a breakfast cereal, in bread and as a meat extender on Zn absorption was also studied.
3. The mean percentage absorption from the chicken meals with white bread, carrots and cabbage was significantly different from the meals with potatoes, turnips and green peas. When the amount of Zn in the meals was taken into account a slightly higher absorption was observed from the white-bread meal compared with the meals with potatoes and cabbage, while no differences were seen between the vegetable meals.
4. The beet-pulp-fibre preparation did not affect the extent of Zn absorption when used as a meat extender. The absorption of Zn was higher when the beet fibre was included in bread than when used as muesli.
5. The results obtained suggest that, besides the low-Zn content in vegetables, a large intake of vegetables or a pure-vegetable-fibre preparation has no significant effect on Zn availability from animal-protein-based meals.