diet-microbeGut Microbial Metabolism of Plant Lignans: Influence on Human Health

In: Diet-Microbe Interactions in the Gut, 1st Edition

Publisher’s description

Drawing on expert opinions from the fields of nutrition, gut microbiology, mammalian physiology, and immunology, Diet-Microbe Interactions for Human Health investigates the evidence for a unified disease mechanism working through the gut and its resident microbiota, and linking many inflammation-related chronic diet associated diseases. State of the art post-genomic studies can highlight the important role played by our resident intestinal microbiota in determining human health and disease. Many chronic human diseases associated with modern lifestyles and diets — including those localized to the intestinal tract like inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease, and more pervasive systemic conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease — are characterized by aberrant profiles of gut bacteria or their metabolites. Many of these diseases have an inflammatory basis, often presenting with a chronic low-grade systemic inflammation, hinting at persistent and inappropriate activation of inflammatory pathways. Through the presentation and analysis of recent nutrition studies, this book discusses the possible mechanisms underpinning the disease processes associated with these pathologies, with high fat diets appearing to predispose to disease, and biologically active plant components, mainly fiber and polyphenols, appearing to reduce the risk of chronic disease development.


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Master’s thesis: Metabolism of Plant Lignans by Human Intestinal Bacteria


Dietary plant lignans have been implicated in the prevention of several chronic diseases including breast cancer, colon cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Plant lignans can be converted to the physiologically active enterolignans enterodiol and enterolactone by anaerobic bacteria residing in the intestine. Significant interindividual variation has been observed regarding the ability of intestinal bacterial communities to metabolize plant lignans to enterolignans. However, little is known about what characterizes a high enterolignan-producing community from a low enterolignan-producing community. This work presents the development of a platform that can be used to study communities of lignan-converting intestinal bacteria in vitro. Variables that were tested include media type, fecal inoculum concentration, stool processing, and sample headspace. Optimal conditions for enterolignan production and reproducibility consisted of a simple media containing sodium acetate and sodium formate, a total fecal concentration of greater than 1.0%, homogenized slurry processed in a batch, and a headspace-slurry ratio of 3:2.

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Washington State Dept. of Agriculture Farm-to-School Program

Key Findings of 2011 WSDA Survey

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Undergraduate Poster Presentation

Suppression of Colon Carcinogenesis by Bioactive Compounds Found in Grapefruit


Recent epidemiologic studies show that consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables is protective against many types of cancers, including colon cancer. This poster examines compounds found in grapefruit as chemopreventive agents using azoxymethane-induced rats. Additionally, isolated compounds are compared with both natural and irradiated grapefruit pulp in their effectiveness at decreasing incidence of aberrant crypt foci in colon tissue. The results indicate that although each experimental diet showed an improvement over the control diet, natural grapefruit and limonin may serve as better chemopreventive agents compared to irradiated grapefruit and naringin.