Extracts and melanins from Inonotus obliquus are widely used in medicine due to their high antioxidant properties. This study is dedicated to define the influence of the physicochemical and antioxidant properties of Inonotus obliquus melanins and their bifidogenic effects on Bifidobacterium bifidum 1 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis. For this purpose, melanins precipitated from Inonotus obliquus aqueous extracts, obtained by a few methods, and separated melanin fractions by organic solvents were used. For the melanin physicochemical properties analysis spectrophotometry, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy and dynamic light scattering methods were applied. Melanins and their fractions difference in particle size and charge, antioxidant properties, and redox potential were revealed. It was shown that the redox potential, the size of melanin particles and the z-potential had maximum influence on bifidobacteria growth. The greatest activating effect on bifidobacteria was established by using melanin isolated from aqueous microwave extracts in concentrations of 10-13, 10-10, 10-5 g/cm3. The use of this melanin with antioxidant activity 0.67 ± 0.06 mg/g (expressed as ascorbic acid equivalent), and with redox potential -5.51 ± 2.22 mV as a prebiotic allowed the growth of Bifidobacterium bifidum 1 s to increase by 1.4 times in comparison with ascorbic acid by 24 h of cultivation.
Keywords: Inonotus obliquus; antioxidant activity; bifidobacteria; bifidogenic; melanins.