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PLoS One. 2018 Feb 15;13(2):e0192490. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0192490. eCollection 2018.

Isolation and identification of new bacterial stains producing equol from Pueraria lobata extract fermentation.

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College of Life Science, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, Republic of Korea.


Equol is a nonsteroidal estrogen that is produced by intestinal bacterial metabolism. Equol and equol-producing bacteria have been extensively investigated with soybean-based materials under anaerobic condition. In this study, an under-appreciated plant material, Pueraria lobata, was used to find new bacterial strains that produce equol under aerobic conditions. Three new intestinal bacteria, CS1, CS2, and CS3, were isolated, and internal transcribed spacer analysis revealed that belonging to genus Pediococcus and Lactobacillus. HPLC analysis showed that these strains produced equol or its related intermediates when fermenting P. lobata extract. In comparison to fermentation of P. lobata extract, soybean germ extract was also fermented. While the isolated strains did not produce equol in this extract, they produced other equol-related precursors. To test the modularity effect of these fermentation mixtures with the newly isolated bacteria, MCF-7 cell proliferation assay was performed, which showed that all extracts fermented with those strains has a modularity effect. Fermenting P. lobata extract with strain CS1 demonstrated the best modularity effect.

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