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Identification of cereal alkylresorcinol metabolites in human urine-potential biomarkers of wholegrain wheat and rye intake.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), P.O. Box 7051, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.


Alkylresorcinols, phenolic lipids present in high amounts in wholegrain wheat and rye, are of interest as potential biomarkers of the intake of these cereals. Alkylresorcinols are known to be absorbed by humans and animals, but little is known about their metabolism or resulting metabolites. A preliminary human study was carried out to identify alkylresorcinol metabolites in human urine. Urine samples, collected before and after a wheat-bran based meal, were deconjugated with beta-glucuronidase/sulphatase and then extracted with ethyl acetate. Extracts were separated by thin-layer chromatography, and fractions containing alkylresorcinols and possible metabolites were identified by retention on the plate compared to standard compounds, and staining with fast blue B. These fractions were further analysed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Deconjugated human urine after the wheat-bran based meal contained two alkylresorcinol metabolites, 3,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid and 3-(3,5-dihydroxyphenyl)-1-propanoic acid, as well as smaller amounts of unchanged alkylresorcinols, confirming the hypothesis that alkylresorcinols are metabolised in humans via beta-oxidation of their alkyl chain.

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