Mandalari, G., C. Nueno-Palop, G. Bisignano, M.S.J. Wickham, A. Narbad, 2008. Potential prebiotic properties of almond (Amygdalus communis L.) seeds. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 74 (14):4264-4270.
Almonds are known to have a number of nutritional benefits, including cholesterol-lowering effects and protection against diabetes. They are also a good source of minerals and vitamin E, associated with promoting health and reducing the risk for chronic disease. For this study we investigated the potential prebiotic effect of almond seeds in vitro by using mixed fecal bacterial cultures. Two almond products, finely ground almonds (FG) and defatted finely ground almonds (DG), were subjected to a combined model of the gastrointestinal tract which included in vitro gastric and duodenal digestion, and the resulting fractions were subsequently used as substrates for the colonic model to assess their influence on the composition and metabolic activity of gut bacteria populations. FG significantly increased the populations of bifidobacteria and Eubacterium rectale, resulting in a higher prebiotic index (4.43) than was found for the commercial prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (4.08) at 24 h of incubation. No significant differences in the proportions of gut bacteria groups were detected in response to DG. The increase in the numbers of Eubacterium rectale during fermentation of FG correlated with increased butyrate production. In conclusion, we have shown that the addition of FG altered the composition of gut bacteria by stimulating the growth of bifidobacteria and Eubacterium rectale.