Almond milk fermented with different potentially probiotic bacteria improves iron uptake by intestinal epithelial (Caco-2) cells

Neus Bernat, Maite Cháfer, Amparo Chiralt, Jose Moisés Laparra, Chelo González-Martínez


New fermented almond milks were developed, using different potentially probiotic bacteria, in order to meet the current demand for healthy, versatile non-dairy products. An in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell model was used to evaluate the effect of both non-fermented and fermented almond milks on the mitochondrial enzymatic activities of enterocytes. Moreover, macrophages were challenged with the in-vitro digested samples and the production of pro-inflammatory biomarkers TNF-a and IL-6 was quantified. Enzymatic activities of cell cultures seemed to be stimulated by the exposure to both fermented and non-fermented almond milks. Both biomarkers decreased (p< 0.05) in fermented almond milks with either B. bifidum or B. longum. Results showed that fermented almond products favored the energetic metabolism of enterocytes and had a lower inflammatory response than non-fermented almond milk, suggesting its benefits for the management of allergies/intolerances. Moreover, the fermentation process enhanced the uptake of iron by Caco-2 cells, especially when using L. rhamnosus and either B. bifidum or B. longum as starters, thus improving the product bioactivity. Therefore, new non-dairy fermented products with functional properties were developed, which might be positioned as alternatives to cow-milk products for sensitized groups of population (allergic and/or intolerant to cow milk or anemic population, among others).


almond milk; fermentation; probiotics; iron availability; inflammation

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