Background: Growing evidence shows the potential of nutritional interventions to treat obesity but most investigations have utilized non-digestible carbohydrates only. Peach and plum contain high amounts of polyphenols, compounds with demonstrated anti-obesity effects. The underlying process of successfully treating obesity using polyphenols may involve an alteration of the intestinal microbiota. However, this phenomenon is not well understood. Methodology/Principal Findings: Obese Zucker rats were assigned to three groups (peach, plum, and control, n = 10 each), wild-type group was named lean (n = 10). Carbohydrates in the fruit juices were eliminated using enzymatic hydrolysis. Fecal samples were obtained after 11 weeks of fruit or control juice administration. Real-time PCR and 454-pyrosequencing were used to evaluate changes in fecal microbiota. Over 1,500 different Operational Taxonomic Units at 97% similarity were detected in all rats. Several bacterial groups (e.g. Lactobacillus and members of Ruminococcacea) were found to be more abundant in the peach but especially in the plum group (plum juice contained 3 times more total polyphenolics compared to peach juice). Principal coordinate analysis based on Unifrac-based unweighted distance matrices revealed a distinct separation between the microbiota of control and treatment groups. These changes in fecal microbiota occurred simultaneously with differences in fecal short-chain acids concentrations between the control and treatment groups as well as a significant decrease in body weight in the plum group. Conclusions: This study suggests that consumption of carbohydrate-free peach and plum juice has the potential to modify fecal microbial ecology in an obese animal model. The separate contribution of polyphenols and non-polyphenols compounds (vitamins and minerals) to the observed changes is unknown. © 2014 Noratto et al.
Noratto, G. D., Garcia-Mazcorro, J. F., Markel, M., Martino, H. S., Minamoto, Y., Steiner, J. M., … Mertens-Talcott, S. U. (2014). Carbohydrate-free peach (Prunus persica) and plum (Prunus domestica) juice affects fecal microbial ecology in an obese animal model. PLoS ONE, 9(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0101723