Metabolic profile and underlying improved bio-activity of Fructus aurantii immaturus by human intestinal bacteria†
Fructus aurantii immaturus (FAI) is the dried young fruit of Citrus aurantium L. or Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck. The purpose of this paper was to investigate the metabolic fate of FAI upon incubation with human intestinal bacteria, meanwhile to evaluate the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of FAI and the transformed Fructus aurantii immaturus (TFAI). The water extract of FAI was anaerobically incubated with human intestinal bacterial suspensions for 48 h at 37 °C. Liquid chromatography-hybridised with quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-Q-TOF/MS) was applied to identify FAI metabolites. A total of 45 compounds were identified in FAI, eleven of which were metabolized by human intestinal bacteria. Nine major metabolites were identified as eriodictyol, naringenin, hesperetin, luteolin, apigenin, chryseriol, isosakuranetin, phloretin and diosmetin. The metabolic profile of FAI was elucidated on the basis of metabolite information. We found that the concentrations of acetic, propionic and butyric acids in FAI culture were all increased during fermentation relative to those of the control. Further bioactive evaluations showed that TFAI exhibited more potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities than FAI in vitro. Additionally, in vivo experiment confirmed that FAI significantly attenuated the blood endotoxin and TNF-α levels in the conventional rats compared to those of pseudo-germ-free (PGF) rats. This study revealed that metabolites may play a key role in the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacities of FAI.