Relationship of Dietary Soy Protein to Daidzein Metabolism by Cultures of Intestinal Microfloras from Monkeys


Soybeans have been shown to contain larger concentrations of isoflavones than other plant foods. The colonic micro-floras of some individuals metabolize isoflavones, including the soy phytoestrogen daidzein, to compounds with altered estrogenic activity that may affect health. Monkeys have been used as models to predict the effect of colonic microorganisms on the metabolism of phytoestrogens. We studied the effect of consumption of a diet rich in soy protein on the metabolism of added daidzein by the intestinal microfloras of monkeys. The metabolism of daidzein by cultures of the colonic microfloras from eight males and eight females of Macaca fascicularis, 6 - 12 years old, consuming diets containing either soy or casein, and two males and three females of Macaca nemestrina, 3 - 5 months old, consuming infant formula, was investigated using high-performance liquid chromatographic analyses. Cultures from ten of the 16 adult monkeys and all five infant monkeys metabolized the added daidzein within 24 h. Daidzein was metabolized within 48 h by cultures from five other monkeys, but it remained even after 72 h in a culture from one female monkey on a casein diet. Equol and dihydrodaidzein were the only metabolites found. Individual variation among monkeys in the efficiency of daidzein metabolism was observed, but there appeared to be no correlation between diet and daidzein metabolism by the intestinal microflora. The intestinal microfloras of most monkeys tested were efficient in the biotransformation of daidzein to equol, regardless of the animals’ consumption of soy protein. Differences in the metabolism of isoflavones by the colonic microfloras of humans and experimental animals should be considered when extrapolating results from animals to humans.

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F. Rafii, J. Sutherland, B. Bridges, M. Park and M. Adams, "Relationship of Dietary Soy Protein to Daidzein Metabolism by Cultures of Intestinal Microfloras from Monkeys," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 2, 2012, pp. 267-273. doi: 10.4236/fns.2012.32039.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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