• intestinal flora;
  • pectin;
  • quercetin;
  • rutin

ABSTRACT:  Few reports have considered the effects of dietary fiber on plasma quercetin and the intestinal flora. We investigated the effects of pectin on the plasma and fecal flora of mice fed a diet supplemented with the quercetin glycoside rutin. Male mice were randomly divided into 2 groups, which were fed a pectin–rutin (PR) or cellulose–rutin (CR) diet for 14 d. Plasma quercetin and isorhamnetin metabolites were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. Feces were immediately processed with bacteriological procedures. The fecal flora was investigated. Plasma quercetin and isorhamnetin concentrations were significantly higher in the PR diet group, as was the plasma isorhamnetin/quercetin ratio. The composition of the intestinal flora differed between the 2 dietary groups. The total number of fecal bacteria was significantly larger in the PR group, in which most types of bacteria were more abundant, with the exceptions of bifidobacteria, fusiform-shaped bacteria, and staphylococci. The lower gut seemed to be the major absorption site for rutin. Pectin might thus enhance the bioavailability of quercetin from rutin by altering the metabolic activity of the intestinal flora and/or gut physiological function.