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Isolation of Human Intestinal Bacteria Capable of Producing the Bioactive Metabolite Isourolithin A from Ellagic Acid

AuthorsSelma, María Victoria ; Beltrán Riquelme, David; Luna, María C.; Romo Vaquero, María ; García-Villalba, Rocío ; Mira, Álex; Espín de Gea, Juan Carlos ; Tomás Barberán, Francisco
Novel probiotic
Gut bacteria
Issue Date7-Aug-2017
PublisherFrontiers Media
CitationFrontiers in Microbiology 8: 1521 (2017)
AbstractUrolithins are intestinal microbial metabolites produced from ellagitannin- and ellagic acid-containing foods such as walnuts, strawberries, and pomegranates. These metabolites, better absorbed than their precursors, can contribute significantly to the beneficial properties attributed to the polyphenols ellagitannins and ellagic acid (EA). However, both the ability of producing the final metabolites in this catabolism (urolithins A, B and isourolithin A) and the health benefits associated with ellagitannin consumption differ considerably among individuals depending on their gut microbiota composition. Three human urolithin metabotypes have been previously described, i.e., metabotype 0 (urolithin non-producers), metabotype A (production of urolithin A as unique final urolithin) and metabotype B (urolithin B and/or isourolithin A are produced besides urolithin A). Although production of some intermediary urolithins has been recently attributed to intestinal species from Eggerthellaceae family named Gordonibacter urolithinfaciens and Gordonibacter pamelaeae, the identification of the microorganisms responsible for the complete transformation of EA into the final urolithins, especially those related to metabotype B, are still unknown. In the present research we illustrate the isolation of urolithin-producing strains from human feces of a healthy adult and their ability to transform EA into different urolithin metabolites, including isourolithin A. The isolates belong to a new genus from Eggerthellaceae family. EA transformation and urolithin production arisen during the stationary phase of the growth of the bacteria under anaerobic conditions. The HPLC-DAD-MS analyses demonstrated the sequential appearance of 3,8,9,10-tetrahydroxy-urolithin (urolithin M6), 3,8,9-trihydroxy-urolithin (urolithin C) and 3,9-dihydroxy-urolithin (isourolithin A) while 3,8-dihydroxy-urolithin (urolithin A) and 3-hydroxy-urolithin (urolithin B) were not detected. For the first time isourolithin A production capacity of pure strains has been described. The biological activity attributed to urolithins A and B and isourolithin A (anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, cardioprotective, and neuroprotective properties) explains the relevance of identifying these urolithin-producing bacteria as potential novel probiotics with applications in the development of functional foods and nutraceuticals. Their human administration could improve the health benefits upon ellagitannin consumption, especially in metabotype 0 individuals. However, further research is necessary to probe well-established beneficial effects on the host and safety requirements before being considered among the next-generation probiotics.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.01521
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