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Flavanol monomer-induced changes to the human faecal microflora

Tzounis, X., Vulevic, J., Kuhnle, G. G. C. ORCID:, George, T., Leonczak, J., Gibson, G. R., Kwik-Uribe, C. and Spencer, J. P. E. ORCID: (2008) Flavanol monomer-induced changes to the human faecal microflora. British Journal of Nutrition, 99 (4). pp. 782-792. ISSN 0007-1145

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/s0007114507853384


We have investigated the bacterial-dependent metabolism of (-)-epicatechin and (+)-catechin using a pH-controlled, stirred, batch-culture fermentation system reflective of the distal region of the human large intestine. Incubation of (-)-epicatechin or (+)-catechin (150mg/l or 1000mg/l) with faecal bacteria, led to the generation of 5-(3,4'-dihydroxyphenyl)-gamma-valerolactone, 5-phenyl-gamma-valerolactone and phenylpropionic acid. However, the formation of these metabolites from (+)-catechin required its initial conversion to (+)-epicatechin. The metabolism of both flavanols occurred in the presence of favourable carbon sources, notably sucrose and the prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharides, indicating that bacterial utilisation of flavanols also occurs when preferential energy sources are available. (+)-Catechin incubation affected the growth of select microflora, resulting in a statistically significant increase in the growth of the Clostridium coccoides-Eubacterium rectale group, Bifidobacterium spp. and Escherichia coli, as well as a significant inhibitory effect on the growth of the C. histolyticum group. In contrast, the effect of (-)-epicatechin was less profound, only significantly increasing the growth of the C. coccoides-Eubacterium rectale group. These potential prebiotic effects for both (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin were most notable at the lower concentration of 150 mg/l. As both (-)-epicatechin and (+)-catechin were converted to the same metabolites, the more dramatic change in the growth of distinct microfloral populations produced by (+)-catechin incubation may be linked to the bacterial conversion of (+)-catechin to (+)-epicatechin. Together these data suggest that the consumption of flavanol-rich foods may support gut health through their ability to exert prebiotic actions.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR)
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Human Nutrition Research Group
ID Code:12914
Uncontrolled Keywords:Antioxidants/metabolism/*pharmacology Bacteria/drug effects/*metabolism Bacteriological Techniques Bifidobacterium/growth & development Catechin/metabolism/pharmacology Clostridium/growth & development Escherichia coli/growth & development Eubacterium/growth & development Feces/*microbiology Fermentation Flavonoids/metabolism/*pharmacology Humans Intestine, Large/metabolism/microbiology
Additional Information:Tzounis, Xenofon Vulevic, Jelena Kuhnle, Gunter G C George, Trevor Leonczak, Jadwiga Gibson, Glenn R Kwik-Uribe, Catherine Spencer, Jeremy P E Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't England The British journal of nutrition Br J Nutr. 2008 Apr;99(4):782-92. Epub 2007 Nov 1.

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