Bioavailability of minerals has been defined and determined in many different ways. In general, it refers to the portion of a given source of mineral that can be absorbed, retained, or utilized for a specific function. Thus, the values of mineral bioavailability are often derived from digestion, balance, and feeding trials, using a highly available mineral as a reference. Cultured-cell and in vitro models have also been developed for assay of mineral bioavailability. Modifying factors of mineral bioavailability include the chemical form, source, and level of the testing compound; the species, age, and physiological states of the target animals; and the conditions of diets to which the testing mineral is added.

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