Wild-caught starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were fed an iron-enriched diet, with or without supplemental black tea leaves, to determine whether tea-derived tannins would prevent intestinal iron absorption. Hepatic biopsies were obtained to determine hepatic iron concentrations by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Hepatic iron concentrations increased significantly (P = 0.04) in 21 birds that consumed only the iron-enriched diet for 6 mo but not in the 20 birds that consumed the iron-enriched diet with tea leaf supplementation for the same time period.
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Vol. 34 • No. 3