In order to investigate the modulatory effect of purple sweet potato anthocyanins (PSPAs) on human intestinal microbiota, PSPAs were prepared by column chromatography and their influence on intestinal microbiota was analyzed by monitoring the bacterial populations and analyzing short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentrations at different time points. The numbers (log10 cell/mL) of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus/Enterococcus spp., Bacteroides-Prevotella, Clostridium histolyticum, and total bacteria after 24 h of culture in anaerobic fermentation broth containing PSPAs were 8.44 ± 0.02, 8.30 ± 0.01, 7.80 ± 0.03, 7.60 ± 0.03, and 9.00 ± 0.02, respectively, compared with 8.21 ± 0.03, 8.12 ± 0.02, 7.95 ± 0.02, 7.77 ± 0.02, and 9.01 ± 0.03, respectively, in the controls. The results showed that PSPAs induced the proliferation of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus/Enterococcus spp., inhibited the growth of Bacteroides-Prevotella and Clostridium histolyticum, and did not affect the total bacteria number. Total SCFA concentrations in the cultures with PSPAs were significantly higher than in the controls (P < 0.05). Moreover, during the fermentation, the PSPAs were partially fragmented to phenolic acids, which may exert a better effect on intestinal microecology, suggesting that PSPAs may have prebiotic-like activity by generating SCFAs and modulating the intestinal microbiota, contributing to improvements in human health.
Keywords: anthocyanins; intestinal microbiota; modulatory effect; prebiotic-like activity; purple sweet potato.