Xia, Y., et al. Aqueous raw and ripe Pu-erh tea extracts alleviate. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 1-13. 4/1/2019.
Pu-erh tea is attracting increased attention worldwide because of its unique flavor and health effects, but its impact on the composition and function of the gut microbiota remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of aqueous extracts of fermented (ripe) and non-fermented (raw) Pu-erh teas on the composition and function of the intestinal microbiota of rats with diet-induced obesity. We conducted a comparative metagenomic and meta-proteomic investigation of the microbial communities in cecal samples taken from obese rats treated with or without extracts of raw or ripe Pu-erh teas. By analyzing the composition and diversity of 16S rRNA amplicons and expression profiles of 814 distinct proteins, we found that despite differences in the chemical compositions of raw and ripe Pu-erh teas, administration of either tea at two doses (0.15- and 0.40-g/kg body weight) significantly (P < 0.05) increased microbial diversity and changed the composition of cecal microbiota by increasing the relative abundances of Firmicutes and decreasing those of Bacteroidetes. Community metabolic processes, including sucrose metabolism, glycolysis, and syntheses of proteins, rRNAs, and antibiotics were significantly (P < 0.05) promoted or had a tendency (0.10 < P < 0.05) to be promoted due to the enrichment of relevant enzymes. Furthermore, evidence at population, molecular, and metabolic levels indicated that polyphenols of raw Pu-erh tea and their metabolites potentially promote Akkermansia muciniphila growth by stimulating a type II and III secretion system protein, the elongation factor Tu, and a glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. This study provides new evidence for the prebiotic effects of Pu-erh tea.