This study assessed the ability of rats to absorb and store the folate synthesized by cecal bacteria. Male weanling Sprague-Dawley rats were folate depleted by feeding a low folacin AIN93G formulated basal diet for 28 d; they were then fed repletion diets containing folate (0.25-1.0 mg/kg diet), dietary fiber (DF; wheat bran, oat bran, ground corn, wheat germ) or undigested and fermented dietary material (UFDM; polydextrose, inulin) in the presence and absence of an antibiotic (succinylsulfathiazole). Fermentation was stimulated by DF and UFDM and reduced by the antibiotic. In the absence of succinylsulfathiazole, the increase in liver folate (during the repletion phase) was proportional only to the folate content of the diet and did not vary with added DF or UFDM. Adding succinylsulfathiazole lowered total folate excretion from 13.8 ± 8.2 to 4.8 ± 2.9 nmol/d (pooled diets, P < 0.00001) in agreement with its role in inhibiting bacterial folate synthesis. In addition, succinylsulfathiazole lowered liver folate in rats fed control and test diets approximately equally with a mean decrease from 11.6 ± 2.5 to 7.5 ± 2.5 nmol/g wet liver (pooled diets, P < 0.00001), suggesting that the antibiotic also affected rat folate absorption and/or metabolism. Increased bacterial fermentation and excretion as well as increased bacterial folate production in the presence of added DF and UFDM were demonstrated by increased volatile fatty acid content in cecal and fecal samples (P < 0.000001) and increased diaminopimelic acid, muramic acid and folate in feces (P < 0.00001). The magnitude of these changes depended on the type of DF and UFDM. These results show that bacterially synthesized folate is not substantially absorbed and stored in the liver of Sprague-Dawley male rats.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Dietary fiber, Fermentation, Folate bioavailability, Inulin, Polydextrose, Rats
Journal Journal of Nutrition
Sepehr, E., Peace, R.W., Storey, K, Jee, P., Lampi, B.J., & Brooks, S.P.J. (2003). Folate derived from cecal bacterial fermentation does not increase liver folate stores in 28-d folate-depleted male Sprague-Dawley rats. Journal of Nutrition, 133(5), 1347–1354.