Lactobacillus plantarum-mediated regulation of dietary aluminum induces changes in the human gut microbiota: An in vitro colonic fermentation study

Leilei Yu , Hui Duan, Lee Kellingray, Shi Cen, Fengwei Tian, Jianxin Zhao, Hao Zhang, Gwénaëlle Le Gall, Melinda J. Mayer, Qixiao Zhai (Lead Author), Wei Chen, Arjan Narbad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


The gut microbiota has been identified as a target of toxic metals and a potentially crucial mediator of the bioavailability and toxicity of these metals. In this study, we show that aluminum (Al) exposure, even at low dose, affected the growth of representative strains from the human intestine via pure culture experiments. In vitro, Lactobacillus plantarum CCFM639 could bind Al on its cell surface as shown by electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray analysis. The potential of L. plantarum CCFM639 to reverse changes in human intestine microbiota induced by low-dose dietary Al exposure was investigated using an in vitro colonic fermentation model. Batch fermenters were inoculated with fresh stool samples from healthy adult donors and supplemented with 86 mg/L Al and/or 109 CFU of L. plantarum CCFM639. Al exposure significantly increased the relative abundances of Bacteroidetes (Prevotella), Proteobacteria (Escherichia), Actinobacteria (Collinsella), Euryarchaeota (Methanobrevibacter), and Verrucomicrobiaceae and decreased Firmicutes (Streptococcus, Roseburia, Ruminococcus, Dialister, Coprobacillus). Some changes were reversed by the inclusion of L. plantarum CCFM639. Alterations in gut microbiota induced by Al and L. plantarum CCFM639 inevitably led to changes in metabolite levels. The short-chain fatty acid (SCFAs) contents were reduced after Al exposure, but L. plantarum CCFM639 could elevate their levels. SCFAs had positive correlations with beneficial bacteria, such as Dialister, Streptococcus, Roseburia, and negative correlations with Erwinia, Escherichia, and Serratia. Therefore, dietary Al exposure altered the composition and structure of the human gut microbiota, and this was partially mitigated by L. plantarum CCFM639. This probiotic supplementation is potentially a promising and safe approach to alleviate the harmful effects of dietary Al exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398–412
Number of pages15
JournalProbiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins
Issue number2
Early online date26 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Aluminum toxicity . Gutmicrobiota . Lactic acid bacteria . Probiotic . Short-chain fatty acids . 16S rRNAsequencing
  • Gut microbiota
  • Probiotic
  • Short-chain fatty acids
  • Lactic acid bacteria
  • Aluminum toxicity
  • 16S rRNA sequencing

Cite this