Impact of phlorotannin extracts from fucus vesiculosus on human gut microbiota

Marcelo D. Catarino, Catarina Marçal, Teresa Bonifácio-Lopes, Débora Campos, Nuno Mateus, Artur M. S. Silva, Maria Manuela Pintado, Susana M. Cardoso*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies indicate that plant polyphenols could be pointed as potential prebiotic candidates since they may interact with the gut microbiota, stimulating its growth and the production of metabolites. However, little is known about the fate of brown seaweeds’ phlorotannins during their passage throughout the gastrointestinal tract. This work aimed to evaluate the stability and bioaccessibility of Fucus vesiculosus phlorotannins after being submitted to a simulated digestive process, as well as their possible modulatory effects on gut microbiota and short-chain fatty acids production following a fermentation procedure using fecal inoculates to mimic the conditions of the large intestine. The stability of phlorotannins throughout the gastrointestinal tract was reduced, with a bioaccessibility index between 2 and 14%. Moreover, slight alterations in the growth of certain commensal bacteria were noticed, with Enterococcus spp. being the most enhanced group. Likewise, F. vesiculosus phlorotannins displayed striking capacity to enhance the levels of propionate and butyrate, which are two important short-chain fatty acids known for their role in intestinal homeostasis. In summary, this work provides valuable information regarding the behavior of F. vesiculosus phlorotannins along the gastrointestinal tract, presenting clear evidence that these compounds can positively contribute to the maintenance of a healthy gastrointestinal condition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number375
Number of pages17
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2021


  • Bioaccessibility
  • Brown seaweeds
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Gut microbiota
  • Phlorotannins
  • Prebiotics
  • Short-chain fatty acids


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