Characterisation of a hydroxycinnamic acid esterase from the bifidobacterium longumsubsp. Longumtaxon

Sandra M. Kelly, John O'Callaghan, Mike Kinsella, Douwe Van Sinderen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum, a common member of the human gut microbiota with perceived positive health effects, is capable of metabolising certain complex, plant-derived carbohydrates which are commonly found in the (adult) human diet. These plant glycans may be employed to favourably modulate the microbial communities in the intestine. Hydroxycinnamic acids (HCAs) are plant phenolic compounds, which are attached to glycans, and which are associated with anti-oxidant and other beneficial properties. However, very little information is available regarding metabolism of HCA-containing glycans by bifidobacteria. In the current study, a gene encoding a hydroxycinnamic acid esterase was found to be conserved across the B. longum subsp. longum taxon and was present in a conserved locus associated with plant carbohydrate utilisation. The esterase was shown to be active against various HCA-containing substrates and was biochemically characterised in terms of substrate preference, and pH and temperature optima of the enzyme. This novel hydroxycinnamic acid esterase is presumed to be responsible for the release of HCAs from plant-based dietary sources, a process that may have benefits for the gut environment and thus host health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2690
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberNOV
Publication statusPublished - 09 Nov 2018


  • Bifidobacteria
  • Caffeic acid
  • Esterase
  • Ferulic acid
  • Hydroxycinnamic acids
  • P-coumaric acid
  • Plant phenolics


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