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J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Aug 28;61(34):8134-40. doi: 10.1021/jf402495k. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

Differential modulation of human intestinal bifidobacterium populations after consumption of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) drink.

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Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS), Division of Food Microbiology and Bioprocessing, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 2, 20133 Milano, Italy.


Bifidobacteria are gaining increasing interest as health-promoting bacteria. Nonetheless, the genus comprises several species, which can exert different effects on human host. Previous studies showed that wild blueberry drink consumption could selectively increase intestinal bifidobacteria, suggesting an important role for the polyphenols and fiber present in wild blueberries. This study evaluated the modulation of the most common and abundant bifidobacterial taxonomic groups inhabiting the human gut in the same fecal samples. The analyses carried out showed that B. adolescentis, B. breve, B. catenulatum/pseudocatelulatum, and B. longum subsp. longum were always present in the group of subjects enrolled, whereas B. bifidum and B. longum subsp. infantis were not. Furthermore, it was found that the most predominant bifidobacterial species were B. longum subsp. longum and B. adolescentis. The results obtained revealed a high interindividual variability; however, a significant increase of B. longum subsp. infantis cell concentration was observed in the feces of volunteers after the wild blueberry drink treatment. This bifidobacterial group was shown to possess immunomodulatory abilities and to relieve symptoms and promote the regression of several gastrointestinal disorders. Thus, an increased cell concentration of B. longum subsp. infantis in the human gut could be considered of potential health benefit. In conclusion, wild blueberry consumption resulted in a specific bifidogenic effect that could positively affect certain populations of bifidobacteria with demonstrated health-promoting properties.

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