A urinary profile study of dietary phytoestrogens. The identification and mode of metabolism of new isoflavonoids

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1995 Aug;54(3-4):167-84. doi: 10.1016/0960-0760(95)00131-i.


The metabolic fate of the dietary isoflavones daidzein and genistein was investigated in human volunteers challenged with soya. Urinary diphenols, isolated by partition chromatography on Sephadex LH-20, were characterized and identified by profile capillary gas chromatography (GC) and electron ionization mass spectrometry (GC-EIMS) analysis of the trimethylsilyl ether (TMS) derivatives. Novel isoflavonic phytoestrogens found in the urine of volunteers were those of tetrahydrodaidzein, dihydrogenistein, 6'-hydroxy-O-demethylangolesin and 2-dehydro-O-demethylangolensin. Other known diphenols identified were those of equal, dehydrodaidzein, O-demethylangolensin, daidzein, genistein, glycitein, and the lignan enterolactone. Two other urinary isomers with a fragmentation pattern closely resembling that of the persilylated TMS ethers of cis/trans-isomers of tetrahydrodaidzein, were characterized based on the elucidation of fragments associated with the loss of a non-phenolic-OTMS functional group in ring-C. These are fragments presented in the persilylated mass spectra of isoflavan-4-ols and isoflav-3-ene-4-ols, demonstrated here by a combination of simple and tandem mass spectrometry study of the deuterated persilylated TMS ethers of dihydrodaidzein. In a similar study we also present the data on the structural identification and fragment elucidation of the keto/enol tautomers of the TMS ether derivatives of the dihydro derivatives of daidzein and genistein, observed in the urine of volunteers and considered probable products of the derivatization process. Finally, the GC and GC-MS data of two unknown isoflavonoids and that of a lignan-like compound are presented together with those of dihydrodaidzein, dihydrogenistein, tetrahydrodaidzein and 2-dehydro-O-demethylangolensin. The latter four were obtained here as products of small scale chemical synthesis in a preliminary study on the tentative identification of urinary isoflavonoids in human volunteers challenged with soya.

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / chemical synthesis
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / chemistry
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / isolation & purification*
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / urine*
  • Fabaceae
  • Flavonoids / isolation & purification*
  • Genistein
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / isolation & purification*
  • Isoflavones / metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Plant Preparations
  • Plants, Edible*
  • Plants, Medicinal


  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal
  • Flavonoids
  • Isoflavones
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Plant Preparations
  • daidzein
  • Genistein