Dietary modification of potential vitamin K supply from enteric bacterial menaquinones in rats

Br J Nutr. 1990 May;63(3):639-52. doi: 10.1079/bjn19900150.


Rats given a low-fibre diet based on boiled white rice developed symptoms of severe vitamin K deficiency within 23 d. Inclusion of autoclaved black-eye beans (Vigna unguiculata) in the diet prevented the bleeding syndrome. To test the hypothesis that deficiency resulted from low phylloquinone intake exacerbated by inadequate production of menaquinones by the enteric bacteria, a follow-up experiment was carried out in which groups of rats were given an all-rice diet, a rice + beans diet or a stock diet. Rats on the all-rice diet had significantly lower faecal concentrations of the main menaquinone-producing bacterial species (Bacteroides fragilis and Bacteroides vulgatus) than animals on either of the other two diets. This coupled with the much lower faecal output on this diet suggests that total menaquinone production was low for the all-rice diet. The alterations in faecal flora were associated with several significant changes in caecal metabolism. Rats given the stock diet had much shorter caecal transit times and a considerably greater proportion of butyric acid in volatile fatty acid end-products than did rats on either of the other two diets.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Bacteroides / metabolism
  • Butyrates / analysis
  • Cecum / metabolism
  • Cecum / microbiology*
  • Diet*
  • Fabaceae
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / analysis
  • Feces / analysis
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Transit
  • Male
  • Oryza
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Vitamin K / biosynthesis
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / metabolism*


  • Butyrates
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Vitamin K