Interactions of a lignin-rich fraction from Brewer's spent grain with gut microbiota in vitro

Piritta Niemi (Corresponding Author), Anna-Marja Aura, Johanna Maukonen, A.I. Smeds, Inga Mattila, Klaus Niemelä, Tarja Tamminen, C.B. Faulds, Johanna Buchert, Kaisa Poutanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Lignin is a constituent of plant cell walls and thus is classified as part of dietary fiber. However, little is known about the role of lignin in gastrointestinal fermentation. In this work, a lignin-rich fraction was prepared from brewer’s spent grain and subjected to an in vitro colon model to study its potential bioconversions and interactions with fecal microbiota. No suppression of microbial conversion by the fraction was observed in the colon model, as measured as short-chain fatty acid production. Furthermore, no inhibition on the growth was observed when the fraction was incubated with strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. In fact, the lignin-rich fraction enabled bifidobacteria to survive longer than with glucose. Several transiently appearing phenolic compounds, very likely originating from lignin, were observed during the fermentation. This would indicate that the gut microbiota was able to partially degrade lignin and metabolize the released compounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6754-6762
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • bifidobacteria
  • brewer's spent grain
  • colon microbiota
  • dietary fiber
  • in vitro fermentation
  • lactobacilli
  • lignan
  • lignin

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