Formation of allyl isothiocyanate from sinigrin in the digestive tract of rats monoassociated with a human colonic strain of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 Apr 1;197(1):99-103. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2001.tb10589.x.


A human digestive strain of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron was tested for its ability to metabolise sinigrin, a glucosinolate commonly found in Brassica vegetables. Gnotobiotic rats harbouring the bacterial strain were orally dosed with 50 micromol sinigrin. HPLC analysis of the digestive contents showed that sinigrin was degraded in the large bowel, where B. thetaiotaomicron was established at a high level. Concurrently, a hydrolysis product of sinigrin, allyl isothiocyanate, was identified by GC-MS analysis, following headspace solid-phase microextraction of the digestive contents; its production peaked at ca. 200 nmol, 12 h after dosing. This is the first study to demonstrate in vivo the involvement of a human colonic predominant bacterium in the bioconversion of a dietary glucosinolate to a potentially anticarcinogenic isothiocyanate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteroides / metabolism*
  • Colon / microbiology
  • Digestive System / chemistry
  • Digestive System / microbiology*
  • Germ-Free Life
  • Glucosinolates / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates / metabolism*
  • Rats


  • Glucosinolates
  • Isothiocyanates
  • sinigrin
  • allyl isothiocyanate