The microbiota and metabolites during the fermentation of intact plant cells depend on the content of starch, proteins and lipids in the cells

Weiyan Xiong, Bin Zhang, Zhipeng Gu, Jane Muir, Sushil Dhital

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Intact cells, as the smallest unit of whole foods, were isolated from three legume crops and fermented with human faecal inoculum to elucidate the effect of food macro-nutrients compositional difference (starch, proteins and lipids) on in vitro colonic fermentation profiles. After 48 h of fermentation, the highest production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) were observed for the pea cells, abundance in starch (64.9 %, db). In contrast, branch chain fatty acids (BCFAs) were the major metabolites for protein-enriched soybean cells (protein content 56.9 %, db). The peanut cells rich in lipids (49.2 %, db) has the lowest fermentation rate among the three varieties. Correspondingly, pea cells favoured the growth of Bifidobacterium, whereas soybean and peanut cells promoted an abundance of Bacteroides and Shigella, respectively. Furthermore, except the intact pea cells promoting the abundance of butyrate producer Roseburia, a similar fermentation pattern was found between intact and broken cells suggesting that macro-nutrient types, rather than structure, dominate the production of metabolites in colonic fermentation. The findings elucidate how the food compositional difference can modulate the gut microbiome and thus provide the knowledge to design whole food legumes-based functional foods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-973
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2023


  • Cell wall integrity
  • Colonic microbiota
  • Fermentation
  • Food macro-nutrient composition
  • Legume cells
  • SCFAs production

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