chapter  21
Inorganic Nutrients
Pages 24

Inorganic nutrients are animal or plant tissue com-

ponents which remain in the ashes after foods are

incinerated. Inorganic elements and their compounds are

involved in the metabolism of living organisms.

Complexes between organic molecules and cations

participate in different biological activities and play

important metabolic functions. Mineral elements participate in the control of the

osmotic balance and themaintenance of the potential of

cellular membranes, are essential for different enzy-

matic and hormonal activities, and elements such as

calcium and phosphorus are bone tissue components. The role of minerals as food components is not

restricted to the nutritive value or importance from a

physiological point of view, minerals participate also in

taste, as enhancers or inhibitors of enzyme catalysis

and in reactions affecting food texture. According to the presence of elements in foods and

the requirements of human beings, elements are

classified in major and minor or trace elements.

Major elements are required in amounts higher than

100mg/day, and include calcium, phosphorus, sodium,

potassium, magnesium, chloride, and sulfur. Minor or

trace elements are those required in amounts lower

than 100mg/day. This group includes iron, zinc,

copper, iodine, manganese, selenium, chromium, and

silicon. The requirements of all of them are in a more