Development of fecal microbial enzyme mix for mutagenicity assay of natural products

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Jun;22(6):838-48. doi: 10.4014/jmb.1112.12028.


Orally administered herbal glycosides are metabolized to their hydrophobic compounds by intestinal microflora in the intestine of animals and human, not liver enzymes, and absorbed from the intestine to the blood. Of these metabolites, some, such as quercetin and kaempherol, are mutagenic. The fecal bacterial enzyme fraction (fecalase) of human or animals has been used for measuring the mutagenicity of dietary glycosides. However, the fecalase activity between individuals is significantly different and its preparation is laborious and odious. Therefore, we developed a fecal microbial enzyme mix (FM) usable in the Ames test to remediate the fluctuated reaction system activating natural glycosides to mutagens. We selected, cultured, and mixed 4 bacteria highly producing glycosidase activities based on a cell-free extract of feces (fecalase) from 100 healthy Korean volunteers. When the mutagenicities of rutin and methanol extract of the flos of Sophora japonica L. (SFME), of which the major constituent is rutin, towards Salmonella typhimurium strains TA 98, 100, 102, 1,535, and 1,537 were tested using FM and/or S9 mix, these agents were potently mutagenic. These mutagenicities using FM were not significantly different compared with those using Korean fecalase. SFME and rutin were potently mutagenic in the test when these were treated with fecalase or FM in the presence of S9 mix, followed by those treated with S9 mix alone and those with fecalase or FM. Freeze-dried FM was more stable in storage than fecalase. Based on these findings, FM could be usable instead of human fecalase in the Ames test.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Products / metabolism
  • Biological Products / toxicity
  • Feces / enzymology*
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / isolation & purification
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Glycosides / metabolism*
  • Glycosides / toxicity
  • Human Experimentation
  • Humans
  • Korea
  • Mutagens / analysis*
  • Mutagens / toxicity
  • Mutation
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism*
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics
  • Sophora / chemistry


  • Biological Products
  • Glycosides
  • Mutagens
  • Plant Extracts
  • Glycoside Hydrolases