Microbiome of root vegetables-a source of gluten-degrading bacteria
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Gluten is a cereal protein that is incompletely digested by human proteolytic enzymes that create immunogenic peptides that accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Although both environmental and human bacteria have been shown to expedite gluten hydrolysis, gluten intolerance is a growing concern. Here we hypothesize that together with food, we acquire environmental bacteria that could impact our GIT with gluten-degrading bacteria. Using in vitro gastrointestinal simulation conditions, we evaluated the capacity of endophytic bacteria that inhabit root vegetables, potato (Solanum tuberosum), carrot (Daucus sativus), beet (Beta vulgaris), and topinambur (Jerusalem artichoke) (Helianthus tuberosus), to resist these conditions and degrade gluten. By 16S rDNA sequencing, we discovered that bacteria from the families Enterobacteriaceae, Bacillaceae, and Clostridiaceae most effectively multiply in conditions similar to the human GIT (microoxic conditions, 37 °C) while utilizing vegetable material and gluten as nutrients. Additionally, we used stomach simulation (1 h, pH 3) and intestinal simulation (1 h, bile salts 0.4%) treatments. The bacteria that survived this treatment retained the ability to degrade gluten epitopes but at lower levels. Four bacterial strains belonging to species Bacillus pumilus, Clostridium subterminale, and Clostridium sporogenes isolated from vegetable roots produced proteases with postproline cleaving activity that successfully neutralized the toxic immunogenic epitopes. KEY POINTS: • Bacteria from root vegetables can degrade gluten. • Some of these bacteria can resist conditions mimicking gastrointestinal tract.
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