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Bacterial communities and metabolic activity of faecal cultures from equol producer and non-producer menopausal women under treatment with soy isoflavones

AuthorsGuadamuro, Lucía ; Dohrmann, Anja B; Tebbe, Christoph C; Mayo Pérez, Baltasar ; Delgado, Susana
KeywordsFaecal slurry cultures
Faecal fermentation
Isoflavone metabolism
Intestinal microbiota
High-throughput sequencing
Issue Date17-Apr-2017
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationBMC Microbiology 17(1): 93 (2017)
Abstract[Background] Isoflavones are polyphenols with estrogenic activity found mainly in soy and soy-derived products that need to be metabolised in the intestine by the gut bacteria to be fully active. There is little knowledge about isoflavone bioconversion and equol production in the human intestine. In this work, we developed an in vitro anaerobic culture model based on faecal slurries to assess the impact of isoflavone supplementation on the overall intestinal bacterial composition changes and associated metabolic transformations.
[Results] In the faecal anaerobic batch cultures of this study bioconversion of isoflavones into equol was possible, suggesting the presence of viable equol-producing bacterial taxa within the faeces of menopausal women with an equol producer phenotype. The application of high-throughput DNA sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons revealed the composition of the faecal cultures to be modified by the addition of isoflavones, with enrichment of some bacterial gut members associated with the metabolism of phenolics and/or equol production, such as Collinsella, Faecalibacterium and members of the Clostridium clusters IV and XIVa. In addition, the concentration of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) detected in the isoflavone-containing faecal cultures was higher in those inoculated with faecal slurries from equol-producing women.
[Conclusions] This study constitutes the first step in the development of a faecal culturing system with isoflavones that would further allow the selection and isolation of intestinal bacterial types able to metabolize these compounds and produce equol in vitro. Although limited by the low number of faecal cultures analysed and the inter-individual bacterial diversity, the in vitro results obtained in this work tend to indicate that soy isoflavones might provide an alternative energy source for the increase of equol-producing taxa and enhancement of SCFAs production. SCFAs and equol are both considered pivotal bacterial metabolites in the triggering of intestinal health-related beneficial effects.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12866-017-1001-y
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