Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Food Science (MS)

Degree Level



Food Science


Franck Carbonero

Committee Member

Ravi Barabote

Second Committee Member

Luke Howard


Gut Microbiota, Metabolites, Phenols, Tart Cherry


Tart cherries are polyphenol abundant stone fruits claimed to exert health benefits further of its nutritional properties. The abundant phytochemicals content in tart cherries also referred as dietary polyphenols have been considered as an effective natural antioxidant when added in daily diet. However, it has been hypothesized the intervention of gut microbiota on the overall functionality of such compounds. This thesis contains a wide-ranging literature review focused on tart cherry as a crop, current market, functional food, and several health benefits. Furthermore, the research done describes and in vitro and in vivo assays of a short-term dietary intervention of tart cherry and polyphenol isolates assessed with microbial ecology analysis and metabolomics of tart cherry concentrate polyphenols and microbial metabolites. The concentration of polyphenols (anthocyanins, flavonols and phenolic acids) were high amounts as expected. The in vitro assay showed large increase of Bacteroides in addition to a suggested Bifidobacterium increase likely due to large concentration of chlorogenic acid found in the tart cherry concentrated juice. The main microbial metabolites found in this assay was mainly 4-hydroxyphenyl propionic acid and in less amounts 4-hydroxybenzoic acid. The in vivo assay showed two initial scenarios associates with Bacteroides relative abundance: individuals with high Bacteroides increase the relative abundance of Lachnospiraceae, Ruminococcus and Collinsella; on the other hand, individuals with low levels of Bacteroides responded with an increase Prevotella and Bifidobacterium and Bcteroides and decrease of Lachnospiraceae, Ruminococcus and Collinsella. The results confirm an intervention from the gut microbiota over the metabolism of phytochemicals which should be considered in studies linked with functional foods and potential benefits to health.