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Food Funct. 2016 Sep 14;7(9):3782-3788.

Assessment of the prebiotic effect of quinoa and amaranth in the human intestinal ecosystem.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Technology, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Chemical & Environmental Engineering Department, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Plaza Europa 1, 20018 Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain.
CBQF - Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina - Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa/Porto, Rua Arquiteto Lobão Vital, Apartado 2511, 4202-401 Porto, Portugal.
Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Science, University of Vigo (Campus Ourense), As Lagoas, 32004 Ourense, Spain and CITI-Tecnopole, San Ciprián de Viñas, 32901 Ourense, Spain.


Quinoa and amaranth belong to the group of the so called "superfoods" and have a nutritional composition that confers multiple benefits. In this work, we explored the possibility of these foods exhibiting a prebiotic effect. These pseudocereals were subjected to an in vitro digestion and used as carbon sources in batch cultures with faecal human inocula. The effects on the microbiota composition and their metabolic products were determined by assessment of variations in pH, short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production and changes in the dynamic bacterial populations by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). After 48 h of incubation, the total SCFAs were 106.5 mM for quinoa and 108.83 mM for amaranth, in line with the decrease in pH. Considerable differences (p < 0.05) were found in certain microbial groups, including Bifidobacterium spp., Lactobacillus-Enterococcus, Atopobium, Bacteroides-Prevotella, Clostridium coccoides-Eubacterium rectale, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Roseburia intestinalis. Our research suggests that these pseudocereals can have the prebiotic potential and that their intake may improve dysbiosis or maintain the gastrointestinal health through a balanced intestinal microbiota, although additional studies are necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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