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J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Mar 13;50(6):1725-30.

Quercetin derivatives are deconjugated and converted to hydroxyphenylacetic acids but not methylated by human fecal flora in vitro.

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VTT Biotechnology, P.O. Box 1500, FIN-02044 VTT, Finland.


By using a batch in vitro anaerobic fecal fermentation model, we have shown that the fecal microflora can rapidly deconjugate rutin, isoquercitrin, and a mixture of quercetin glucuronides. High levels of beta,D-glucosidase, alpha,L-rhamnosidase, and beta,D-glucuronidase were present. Rutin underwent deglycosylation, ring fission, and dehydroxylation. The main metabolite, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, appeared rapidly (2 h) and was dehydroxylated to 3-hydroxyphenylacetic acid within 8 h. The pattern of in vitro fermentation of rutin was not changed by changing the pH (6.0 or 6.9), fermentation scale (10 or 1000 mL), or donors of the inoculum. Hydroxyphenylacetic acids were not methylated by colon flora in vitro. The colonic microflora has enormous potential to transform flavonoids into lower molecular weight phenolics, and these might have protective biological activities in the colon. The site of absorption of flavonoids and the form in which they are absorbed are critical for determining their metabolic pathway and consequent biological activities in vivo.

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