Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2014 Apr 14;9(4):e94687. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094687. eCollection 2014.

A rosemary extract rich in carnosic acid selectively modulates caecum microbiota and inhibits β-glucosidase activity, altering fiber and short chain fatty acids fecal excretion in lean and obese female rats.

Author information

Research Group on Quality, Safety and Bioactivity of Plant Foods, Department of Food Science and Technology, Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS)-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Espinardo, Murcia, Spain.
Department of Human Nutrition and Food Science, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Murcia, Espinardo, Murcia, Spain.
Naturex SL, Quart de Poblet, Valencia, Spain.
Naturex SA, Site d'AgroParc, Avignon, France.



Carnosic acid (CA) and rosemary extracts (RE) show body-weight, energy metabolism and inflammation regulatory properties in animal models but the mechanisms are not yet understood. Gut microbiota plays an important role in the host metabolism and inflammatory status and is modulated by the diet. The aim of this research was to investigate whether a RE enriched in CA affected caecum microbiota composition and activity in a rat model of genetic obesity.


A RE (40% CA) was administered with the diet (0.5% w/w) to lean (fa/+) and obese (fa/fa) female Zucker rats for 64 days. Changes in the microbiota composition and β-glucosidase activity in the caecum and in the levels of macronutrients and short chain fatty acids (SCFA) in feces were examined. The RE increased the Blautia coccoides and Bacteroides/Prevotella groups and reduced the Lactobacillus/Leuconostoc/Pediococccus group in both types of animals. Clostridium leptum was significantly decreased and Bifidobacterium increased only in the lean rats. β-Glucosidase activity was significantly reduced and fecal fiber excretion increased in the two genotypes. The RE also increased the main SCFA excreted in the feces of the obese rats but decreased them in the lean rats reflecting important differences in the uptake and metabolism of these molecules between the two genotypes.


Our results indicate that the consumption of a RE enriched in CA modifies microbiota composition and decreases β-glucosidase activity in the caecum of female Zucker rats while it increases fiber fecal elimination. These results may contribute to explain the body weight gain reducing effects of the RE. The mutated leptin receptor of the obese animals significantly affects the microbiota composition, the SCFA fecal excretion and the host response to the RE intake.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center