Current Microbiology

, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 442–451 | Cite as

Glucosinolate and Desulfo-glucosinolate Metabolism by a Selection of Human Gut Bacteria

  • Vijitra Luang-In
  • Abdulhadi Ali Albaser
  • Carmen Nueno-Palop
  • Mark H. Bennett
  • Arjan Narbad
  • John T. Rossiter


Glucosinolate (GSL) hydrolysis is mediated by the enzyme myrosinase which together with specifier proteins can give rise to isothiocyanates (ITCs), thiocyanates, and nitriles (NITs) in cruciferous plants. However, little is known about the metabolism of GSLs by the human gut flora. The aim of the work was to investigate the metabolic fates of sinigrin (SNG), glucotropaeolin (GTP), gluconasturtiin (GNT), and their corresponding desulfo-GSLs (DS-GSLs). Three human gut bacterial strains, Enterococcus casseliflavus CP1, Lactobacillus agilis R16, and Escherichia coli VL8, were chosen for this study. GNT was metabolized to completion within 24 h to phenethyl ITC and phenethyl NIT (PNIT) by all bacteria, except for L. agilis R16 which produced only PNIT. At least 80 % of GTP and SNG were metabolized by all bacteria within 24 h to the corresponding ITCs and NITs. The pH of media over time gradually became acidic for both L. agilis R16 and E. coli VL8, while for E. casseliflavus CP1 the media became slightly alkaline with NIT and ITC production occurring between pH 3.0 and 7.5. ITC production peaked between 4 and 10 h in most cases and gradually declined while NIT production increased and remained relatively constant over time. The total percentage products accounted for 3–53 % of the initial GSL. NITs were produced from DS-GSLs suggesting an alternative metabolism via desulfation for the food based GSLs. The metal ion dependency for NIT production for GNT and its DS form was investigated where it was shown that Fe2+ increased NIT production, while Mg2+ stimulated the formation of ITC.


Sulforaphane AITC Sinigrin PITC Nutrient Broth Medium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to acknowledge the Royal Thai Government for Scholarship awarded to VL and the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/J004545/1) for partial financial support of this research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

284_2016_1079_MOESM1_ESM.docx (149 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 149 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vijitra Luang-In
    • 1
    • 2
  • Abdulhadi Ali Albaser
    • 1
    • 3
  • Carmen Nueno-Palop
    • 4
  • Mark H. Bennett
    • 1
  • Arjan Narbad
    • 4
  • John T. Rossiter
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Life SciencesImperial College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Natural Antioxidant Research Unit, Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of TechnologyMahasarakham UniversityMahasarakhamThailand
  3. 3.Microbiology Section, Department of Plant Science, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of SebhaSebhaLibya
  4. 4.Gut Health and Food Safety ProgrammeInstitute of Food ResearchNorwichUK

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