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In vitro fermented nuts exhibit chemopreventive effects in HT29 colon cancer cells

  • Stefanie Lux (a1), Daniel Scharlau (a1), Wiebke Schlörmann (a2), Marc Birringer (a3) and Michael Glei (a1)...

It is proven that nuts contain essential macro- and micronutrients, e.g. fatty acids, vitamins and dietary fibre (DF). Fermentation of DF by the gut microflora results in the formation of SCFA which are recognised for their chemopreventive potential, especially by influencing cell growth. However, little is known about cellular response to complex fermentation samples of nuts. Therefore, we prepared and analysed (pH, SCFA, bile acids, tocopherol, antioxidant capacity) fermentation supernatant (fs) fractions of nuts (almonds, macadamias, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts) after in vitro fermentation and determined their effects on growth of HT29 cells as well as their genotoxic/anti-genotoxic potential. The fermented nut samples contained 2- to 3-fold higher amounts of SCFA than the faeces control, but considerable reduced levels of bile acids. While most of the investigated native nuts comprised relatively high amounts of tocopherol (α-tocopherol in almonds and hazelnuts and γ- and δ-tocopherol in pistachios and walnuts), rather low concentrations were found in the fs. All nut extracts and nut fs showed a strong antioxidant potential. Furthermore, all fs, except the fs pistachio, reduced growth of HT29 cells significantly. DNA damage induced by H2O2 was significantly reduced by the fs of walnuts after 15 min co-incubation of HT29 cells. In conclusion, this is the first study which presents the chemopreventive effects (reduction of tumour-promoting desoxycholic acid, rise in chemopreventive SCFA, protection against oxidative stress) of different nuts after in vitro digestion and fermentation, and shows the potential importance of nuts in the prevention of colon cancer.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Professor M. Glei, fax +49 3641 9496 72, email
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