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Anaerobe. 2006 Jun;12(3):140-7. Epub 2005 Dec 15.

Occurrence and activity of human intestinal bacteria involved in the conversion of dietary lignans.

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Department of Gastrointestinal Microbiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 155, 14558 Nuthetal, Germany.


The human intestinal microbiota is necessary for the production of enterolignans from the dietary lignan secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG). However, little is known about the bacteria that contribute to SDG conversion. Therefore, we aimed at describing the occurrence and activity of SDG metabolising bacteria. The data showed differences in conversion efficiency between SDG deglycosylating species, but SDG was completely deglycosylated within 20 h by five of six strains. The strain Clostridium sp. SDG-Mt85-3Db showed the highest initial rate of SDG deglycosylation. Furthermore, we found that Bacteroides distasonis and B. fragilis made up 0.5% and 3.3% of total faecal bacteria, respectively. However, Clostridium sp. SDG-Mt85-3Db was detected within the dominant microbiota of only two out of 20 faecal samples. Bacteria involved in the demethylation step of SDG conversion also demethylated a variety of compounds other than SDG. In particular, Peptostreptococcus productus demethylated the lignans pinoresinol, lariciresinol and matairesinol. Finally, Eggerthella lenta catalysed the reduction of pinoresinol and lariciresinol to secoisolariciresinol.

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