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Eur J Nutr. 2008 Dec;47(8):442-52. doi: 10.1007/s00394-008-0747-2. Epub 2008 Oct 15.

Factors affecting the conversion of apple polyphenols to phenolic acids and fruit matrix to short-chain fatty acids by human faecal microbiota in vitro.

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  • 1VTT, Technical Research Center of Finland, VTT, Finland.


Proanthocyanidins (PAs) in apples are condensed tannins comprised mostly of (-)-epicatechin units with some terminal (+)-catechins. PAs, especially those having a long chain-length, are absorbed in the upper intestine only to a small extent and are passed to the colon. In the colon they are subjected to microbial metabolism by colonic microbiota. In the present article, the ability of human microbiota to ferment apple PAs is studied. Freeze-dried fruit preparations (apple, enzymatically digested apple, isolated cell-walls, isolated PAs or ciders) from two varieties, Marie Ménard and Avrolles, containing PAs of different chain lengths, were compared. Fermentation studies were performed in an in vitro colon model using human faecal microbiota as an inoculum. The maximal extent of conversion to known microbial metabolites, was observed at late time point for Marie Ménard cider, having short PAs. In this case, the initial dose also contributed to the extent of conversion. Long-chain PAs were able to inhibit the in vitro microbial metabolism of PAs shown as low maxima at early time points. Presence of isolated PAs also suppressed SCFA formation from carbohydrates as compared with that from apple cell wall or faecal suspension without substrates. The low maximal extents at early time points suggest that there is a competition between the inhibitory effect of the PAs on microbial activity, and the ability to convert PAs by the microbiota.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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