Release of small phenolic compounds from Brewer's spent grain and its lignin fractions by human intestinal microbiota in vitro

Anna-Maija Aura (Corresponding Author), Piritta Niemi, Ismo Mattila, Klaus Niemelä, Annika Smeds, Tarja Tamminen, Craig Faulds, Johanna Buchert, Kaisa Poutanen

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Brewer's spent grain (BSG), the major side-stream from brewing, is rich in protein, lignin, and nonstarch polysaccharides. Lignin is a polyphenolic macromolecule considered resilient toward breakdown and utilization by colon microbiota, although some indications of release of small phenolic components from lignin in animals have been shown. The aim of this study was to investigate if the human intestinal microbiota can release lignans and small phenolic compounds from whole BSG, a lignin-enriched insoluble fraction from BSG and a deferuloylated fraction, in a metabolic in vitro colon model. The formation of short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) was also investigated. More lignin-related monomers and dilignols were detected from the lignin-enriched fraction than from BSG or deferuloylated BSG. SCFA formation was not suppressed by any of the fractions. It was shown that small lignin-like compounds were released from these samples in the in vitro colon model, originating most likely from lignin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9744-9753
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • brewer's spent grain
  • in vitro colon model
  • intestinal microbiota
  • lignan
  • lignin

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