Source apportionment of micronutrients in the diets of Kilimanjaro,Tanzania and Counties of Western Kenya

Michael J. Watts*, Daniel R.S. Middleton, Andrew L. Marriott, Olivier S. Humphrey, Elliott M. Hamilton, Amanda Gardner, Martin Smith, Valerie A. McCormack, Diana Menya, Michael O. Munishi, Blandina T. Mmbaga, Odipo Osano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Soil, water and food supply composition data have been combined to primarily estimate micronutrient intakes and subsequent risk of deficiencies in each of the regions studied by generating new data to supplement and update existing food balance sheets. These data capture environmental influences, such as soil chemistry and the drinking water sources to provide spatially resolved crop and drinking water composition data, where combined information is currently limited, to better inform intervention strategies to target micronutrient deficiencies. Approximately 1500 crop samples were analysed, representing 86 food items across 50 sites in Tanzania in 2013 and >230 sites in Western Kenya between 2014 and 2018. Samples were analysed by ICP-MS for 58 elements, with this paper focussing on calcium (Ca), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), selenium (Se), iodine (I), zinc (Zn) and molybdenum (Mo). In general, micronutrient supply from food groups was higher from Kilimanjaro,Tanzania than Counties in Western Kenya, albeit from a smaller sample. For both countries leafy vegetable and vegetable food groups consistently contained higher median micronutrient concentrations compared to other plant based food groups. Overall, calculated deficiency rates were <1% for Cu and Mo and close to or >90% for Ca, Zn and I in both countries. For Mg, a slightly lower risk of deficiency was calculated for Tanzania at 0 to 1% across simplified soil classifications and for female/males, compared to 3 to 20% for Kenya. A significant difference was observed for Se, where a 3 to 28% risk of deficiency was calculated for Tanzania compared to 93 to 100% in Kenya. Overall, 11 soil predictor variables, including pH and organic matter accounted for a small proportion of the variance in the elemental concentration of food. Tanzanian drinking water presented several opportunities for delivering greater than 10% of the estimated average requirement (EAR) for micronutrients. For example, 1 to 56% of the EAR for I and up to 10% for Se or 37% for Zn could be contributed via drinking water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14447
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 08 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Source apportionment of micronutrients in the diets of Kilimanjaro,Tanzania and Counties of Western Kenya'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this