Team leader
Anna-Marja Aura, D.Sc.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Tietotie 2, P.O.Box 1000
FI-02044 VTT, Espoo Finland
Email:, Phone: + 358 20 722 6178, Fax: +358 20 722 7071

The in vitro digestion models have been applied to microbial metabolism of phytosterols, dietary fibre, lignans, isoflavonoids, flavonoids (catechins, anthocyanins, flavonols), phenolic acids and tannins (ellagitannins and condensed tannins). The analytical techniques used in the studies include targeted analyses using LC-MS or GC-MS, and a non-targeted metabolomics approach using GCxGC-TOF. European and national projects have involved connection of dietary components with colon cancer, hormonal cancers, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes (glycemia, insulinemia). The team Health-benefiting Microbes has been involved in lactic acid bacterial and human gut microbiota research for 10 years. During this time it has participated and co-ordinated both internationally and nationally funded projects. In gut microbiota studies both anaerobic culture-based (e.g. when the survival of a specific bacterial strain through GI-tract is studied) and molecular techniques from the population to the strains level have been used. Of special interest are clostridia and related bacteria as well as health-promoting bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

Key people in the team

  • Dr. Anna-Marja Aura

  • Dr. Maria Saarela

  • Johanna Maukonen

  • Dr. Hanna-Alakomi

Selected publications

  • Aura AM, Karppinen S, Virtanen H, Forssell P, Heinonen S-M, Nurmi T, Adlercreutz H, Poutanen K. Processing of rye bran influences both the fermentation of dietary fibre and the bioconversion of lignans by human faecal flora in vitro. J Sci Food Agric 85, 2085-2093 (2005).

  • Aura AM, Oikarinen S, Mutanen M, Heinonen S-M, Adlercreutz HCT, Virtanen H, Poutanen KS. Suitability of an in vitro fermentation model using human faecal microbiota in prediction of conversion of flaxseed lignans to enterolactone in reference to an in vivo rat model. Eur J Nutr 45, 45-51 (2006).

  • Aura AM, Mattila I, Seppänen-Laakso T, Miettinen J, Oksman-Caldentey K-M, Oresic M, Microbial metabolism of catechin stereoisomers by human faecal microbiota: comparison of targeted analysis and a non-targeted metabolomics method. Phytochem Lett. In press.

  • Maukonen J, Mättö J, Satokari R, Söderlund H, Mattila-Sandholm T, Saarela M, PCR-DGGE and RT-PCR-DGGE show diversity and short-term temporal stability in the Clostridium coccoides - Eubacterium rectale group in the human intestinal microbiota. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 58, 517-528 (2006).

  • Maukonen J, Satokari R, Mättö J, Söderlund H, Mattila-Sandholm T, Saarela M, Prevalence and temporal stability of selected clostridial groups in irritable bowel syndrome in relation to predominant fecal bacteria. J Med Microbiol 55, 625-633 (2006).