The therapeutic potential of plants is widely recognized and harnessed in plant-based remedies and drug discovery. However, the factors that modulate the bioavailability and bioactivities of plant-derived phytochemicals are poorly understood. In a recent article in mBio, M. C. Theilmann et al. (mBio 8:e01421-17, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01421-17) describe how one gut microbe, Lactobacillus acidophilus, catalytically unwraps plant glucosides to make deglucosylated bioactive aglycones available to human tissues. They demonstrate that understanding the metabolism of plant glycosides by intestinal bacteria is essential to appreciating how bacteria manipulate the levels of bioactive plant metabolites in the human host.
Keywords: enzymes; gut microbiota; plant glycosides.
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