We read that iron added to fortified cereal is usually in the form of actual iron filings, which your body may not even be able to use. A box of Mini Wheats I recently purchased had an unusually large amount of crumbled cereal in it (over 4 cups!).

mini wheats

After calling for a coupon for a replacement box, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to do some kitchen science and try to find these iron filings.
First we tried grind up the crumbs in a mortar and pestle.


We then  tried putting strong magnets in the powder. While some stuck, it was not clear if it was just stickiness and not magnetism, and it sure didn’t look like iron.



We then added water to make a slurry.

Needs more water.

Tried a stack of little rare earth magnets, but still nothing conclusive. We did see some movement in the liquid  when we passed the magnet over the liquid (but could not capture it with the camera), so we were on the right track, but still not satisfied.

mag slurry
Time for the big guns. Out with the blender and more crumbs.
Reduced crumbs to finer powder and added a generous helping of RO water.

iron0007 blend2

Poured into a little plastic container and applied magnet to the outside of the container. After sloshing and stirring around a bit we began to see a dark blob form on the inside of the container against the magnet.

iron blob 1

The blob is made up of small particles and moves with the magnet. Iron!

A little careful arrangement of magnet, camera and window light and (despite imperfect macro focus) we are finally able to clearly see the spiky little iron filings standing up on the side of the container.

iron filings 2


Yummmm . . . enjoy your breakfast.