Carrot-derived immune ingredient exhibits prebiotic potential: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

NutriLeads' BeniCaros ingredient is extracted from carrot pomace, which is a side stream from carrot juice production.   Image © Martina Rigoli / Getty Images
NutriLeads' BeniCaros ingredient is extracted from carrot pomace, which is a side stream from carrot juice production. Image © Martina Rigoli / Getty Images

Related tags Prebiotic rhamnogalacturonan Upcycling microbiota

Pectin-derived rhamnogalacturonan-I (RG-I) polysaccharides from carrot may beneficially modulated the human gut microbiota and offer prebiotic potential, says a new study.

Using the Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME), scientists from Belgium and The Netherlands report that the carrot RG-1 (cRG-1) led to increases in the production of beneficial short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as acetate and propionate.  

“High amounts of acetate and propionate were produced due to the involvement of a specialized consortium consisting of, amongst others, strains belonging to ​Bacteroides dorei, ​Prevotella sp., and ​Bifidobacterium longum,” ​reported the scientists in Microorganisms​.

“Due to its structural complexity, cRG-I corresponds to a unique polysaccharide demonstrating prebiotic properties supported by a concomitant effect on the host microbiota and immune system.”


The ingredients are being developed and commercialized by Netherlands-based NutriLeads. The privately held company was founded in 2012 and is and backed by investors including Icos Capital, Goeie Grutten, DSM Venturing, Oost NL, SHIFT Invest and Thuja Capital.

The company’s lead ingredient, BeniCaros, is extracted from carrot pomace, which itself is a side stream from carrot juice production. The ingredient officially launched in the US in October.

BeniCaros is the company’s first to be based on its proprietary RG-I platform, which focuses on developing plant-based rhamnogalacturonan-I (RG-I) polysaccharides.

As reported earlier this year by NutraIngredients-USA​, RG-I may modulate immunity measures and the microbiota in vitro​. Additional data from a proof-of-concept trial in humans showed that RG-I from bell pepper (bpRG-I) was well tolerated and enhanced innate immune responsiveness.

The new data indicates that the carrot-derived RG-1 may also possess prebiotic potential. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) updated the definition of “prebiotics” in 2017 to be: “A substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”​ (Gibson et al. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology​)

Study details

Writing in Microorganisms​, the scientists report on their findings from the SHIME study using fecal microbiota from four human donors. The microbiota was fed with 3 grams of cRG-I per day for three weeks.

The results showed that cRG-1 produced consistent effects across all four microbiota samples in enhancing levels of acetate and propionate. Butyrate was also increased, but to a lesser degree than the other SCFAs.

The primary degraders of cRG-1 were identified as Bacteroides dorei​ and Prevotella.

The researchers also observed significant increases in Bifidobacterium longum, ​but additional analysis showed that this bacterial species cannot ferment cRG-1. ​B. longum probably feeds on arabinan and galactan side chains of cRG-I, released by aforementioned​ Bacteroidetes members,”​ wrote the researchers.

Underlying mechanisms

Commenting on the results of the new study, Dr Ruud Albers, CSO of Nutrileads, said: “The results of the SHIME study are fundamental to our ongoing research into BeniCaros and the underlying mechanisms that drive its powerful immune health benefits.

“Our data shows that BeniCaros can help product manufacturers to deliver a more well-rounded immune health solution to consumers, and they will be able to feel the difference.”

Source: Microorganisms
2021, 9​(10), 2142; doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9102142
“Consistent Prebiotic Effects of Carrot RG-I on the Gut Microbiota of Four Human Adult Donors in the SHIME® Model despite Baseline Individual Variability”
Authors: P. Van den Abbeele et al.

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