Characterization of the peptide fraction from digested Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and its effect on growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

PubMed ID: 28575713


Bottari B, Quartieri A, Prandi B, Raimondi S, Leonardi A, Rossi M, Ulrici A, Gatti M, Sforza S, Nocetti M, Amaretti A

Int J Food Microbiol. Aug 2017

Parmigiano Reggiano (PR) is a raw-milk, hard cooked, long-ripened cheese of high quality and nutritional value. Long ripening times allow for extensive proteolysis of milk proteins to yield a number of peptides, some of which have potential healthy bioactive properties. This study aimed to: i) determine the peptide profile of PR cheese subjected to simulated gastrointestinal transit; ii) evaluate in vitro whether the peptides could support growth of beneficial microbial groups of the gut microbiota. PR samples were subjected to in vitro digestion, simulating oral, gastric, and duodenal transit. Liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry revealed that digestion caused the disappearance of the serum proteins and most of the original peptides, while 71 new peptides were found, all ranging from 2 to 24 residues. The digests were given as sole nitrogen source to pure cultures of Bifidobacterium (27 strains) and Lactobacillus (30 strains), and to bioreactor batch cultures of human gut microbiota. Most of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli grew more abundantly on PR digests than on the control peptone, and exhibited strain- or species-specific peptide preferences, as evidenced by principal component analysis. Bifidobacteria generally consumed a greater amount of peptides than lactobacilli, in terms of both the mean peptide consumption and the number of peptides consumed. For bifidobacteria, peptide preferences were very diverse, but a core of 10 peptides with 4 or 5 residues were consumed by all the strains. Lactobacilli behaved more homogenously and consumed nearly only the same 6 peptides, mostly dipeptides. The peptide preferences of the different groups of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli could not be ascribed to features such as the length of the peptide or the abundance of residues with peculiar properties (hydrophobicity, polarity, charge) and likely depend on specific proteases and/or peptide transporters preferentially recognizing specific sequence motifs. The cultures of human colonic microbiota confirmed that PR digest promoted the growth of commensal bifidobacteria. This study demonstrated that peptides derived from simulated gastrointestinal digestion of PR supported the growth of most lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.