Development of an affordable, sustainable and efficacious plant‐based immunomodulatory food ingredient based on bell pepper or carrot rg‐i pectic polysaccharides

Sue McKay, Paul Oranje, Jari Helin, Jean H. Koek, Ellen Kreijveld, Pieter van den Abbeele, Ute Pohl, Gordana Bothe, Maria Tzoumaki, Marcela Aparicio‐vergara, Annick Mercenier, Henk Schols, Ruud Albers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The prevalence of acute respiratory infections and their impact on quality of life underlies the need for efficacious solutions that are safe, sustainable and economically viable. Polysaccharides in several (traditional) plant extracts have been shown to be immunostimulatory, and some studies suggest beneficial effects against respiratory infections. The aim of this study was to (i) identify the active polysaccharide constituents from affordable and renewable crops (bell pepper and carrot) using activity‐guided fractionation, (ii) evaluate in vitro effects on innate immune responses (phagocytosis and cytokine secretion), microbiota modulation and production of short chain fatty acids, followed by (iii) the evaluation of effects of a bell pepper extract enriched for the active component in a human proof of concept study. We identified rhamnogalacturonan‐I (RG‐I) as the nutricophore responsible for the immunostimulatory activity with substantial structural and functional equivalence between bell pepper (bp) and carrot (c). The in vitro studies showed that bpRG‐I and cRG‐I comprise similar immune‐ and microbiota modulatory potential and the human study demonstrated that bpRG‐I was well tolerated and enhanced innate immune responsiveness in vivo. This is an important step towards testing the efficacy of RG‐I from bpRG‐I or cRG‐I in an infection trial in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number963
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalNutrients
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • BpRG‐I
  • Carrot
  • CRG‐I
  • Innate immune response
  • Microbiota modulation
  • Rhamnogalacturonan‐I (RG‐I), bell pepper
  • Short chain fatty acids (SCFA), immunity
  • Viral infections

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