Removal of sugar moieties from ginsenosides has been proposed to increase their biological effects in various disease models. In order to identify strains that can increase aglycone contents, we performed a screening using bacteria isolated from the feces of infants focusing on acid tolerance and β-glucosidase activity. We isolated 565 bacteria and selected Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis LT 19-2 (LT 19-2), which exhibited the highest β-glucosidase activity with strong acid tolerance. As red ginseng (RG) has been known to exert immunomodulatory functions, we fermented RG using LT 19-2 (FRG) and investigated whether this could alter the aglycone profile of ginsenosides and improve its immunomodulatory effect. FRG increased macrophage activity more potently compared to RG, demonstrated by higher TNF-α and IL-6 production. More importantly, the FRG treatment stimulated the proliferation of mouse splenocytes and increased TNF-α levels in bone marrow-derived macrophages, confirming that the enhanced immunomodulatory function can be recapitulated in primary immune cells. Examination of the molecular mechanism revealed that F-RG could induce phosphorylations of ERK, p38, JNK, and NF-κB. Analysis of the ginsenoside composition showed a decrease in Rb1, Re, Rc, and Rb3, accompanied by an increase in Rd, Rh1, F2, and Rg3, the corresponding aglycone metabolites, in FRG compared to RG. Collectively, LT 19-2 maybe used as a probiotic strain to improve the bioactivity of functional foods through modifying the aglycone/glycoside profile.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics