Infant formula based on pea (Pisum sativum)-protein isolate has been suggested as an alternative to soyabean formula in countries where soyabean is not a native crop, or when soyabean protein cannot be used due to allergic reactions or intolerances. In the present study, Fe absorption from experimental infant formulas based on pea-protein isolate was measured in healthy non-anaemic young women. The influence of phytic acid and ascorbic acid on Fe absorption was evaluated, using a stable-isotope technique based on incorporation of Fe stable-isotope labels into erythrocytes 14 d after administration. Geometric mean Fe absorption increased from 20·7 (+1SD 41·6, -1sd 10·3) % to 33·1 (+1sd 58·6, -1sd 18·7) %; (P<0·0001; n 10) after enzymic degradation of virtually all phytic acid. Doubling the molar ratio Fe : ascorbic acid from 1 : 2·1 to 1 : 4·2 in the infant formula with native phytic acid content also increased Fe absorption significantly (P<0·0001; n 10); geometric mean Fe absorption increased from 14·8 (+1sd 32·1, -1sd 6·8) % to 22·1 (+1sd 47·2, -1sd 10·4) %. These results confirm the inhibitory and enhancing effects of phytic acid and ascorbic acid respectively on Fe absorption, but also indicate relatively high fractional Fe absorption from the pea-protein-based formulas. After adjusting for differences in Fe status, our data indicate that Fe absorption from dephytinised pea protein might be less inhibitory than dephytinised soyabean protein as measured in a previous study ().