Appl Environ Microbiol 2020 05 5;86(10). Epub 2020 May 5.
Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
Dietary protein residue can result in microbial generation of various toxic metabolites in the gut, such as ammonia. A prebiotic is "a substrate that is selectively utilised by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit" (G. R. Gibson, R. Hutkins, M. E. Sanders, S. L. Prescott, et al., Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 14:491-502, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2017.75). Prebiotics are carbohydrates that may have the potential to reverse the harmful effects of gut bacterial protein fermentation. Three-stage continuous colonic model systems were inoculated with fecal samples from omnivore and vegetarian volunteers. Casein (equivalent to 105 g protein consumption per day) was used within the systems as a protein source. Two different doses of inulin-type fructans (Synergy1) were later added (equivalent to 10 g per day and 15 g per day) to assess whether this influenced protein fermentation. Bacteria were enumerated by fluorescence hybridization with flow cytometry. Metabolites from bacterial fermentation (short-chain fatty acid [SCFA], ammonia, phenol, indole, and -cresol) were monitored to further analyze proteolysis and the prebiotic effect. A significantly higher number of bifidobacteria was observed with the addition of inulin together with reduction of spp. Furthermore, metabolites from protein fermentation, such as branched-chain fatty acids (BCFA) and ammonia, were significantly lowered with Synergy1. Production of -cresol varied among donors, as we recognized four high producing models and two low producing models. Prebiotic addition reduced its production only in vegetarian high -cresol producers. Dietary protein levels are generally higher in Western populations than in the world average. We challenged three-stage continuous colonic model systems containing high protein levels and confirmed the production of potentially harmful metabolites from proteolysis, especially replicates of the transverse and distal colon. Fermentations of proteins with a prebiotic supplementation resulted in a change in the human gut microbiota and inhibited the production of some proteolytic metabolites. Moreover, we observed both bacterial and metabolic differences between fecal bacteria from omnivore donors and vegetarian donors. Proteins with prebiotic supplementation showed higher spp. and inhibited cluster IX in omnivore models, while in vegetarian modes, cluster IX was higher and spp. lower with high protein plus prebiotic supplementation. Synergy1 addition inhibited -cresol production in vegetarian high -cresol-producing models while the inhibitory effect was not seen in omnivore models.