Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) represent an important source of anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols and flavonols. This study aimed at investigating in vitro the human microbial metabolism of (poly)phenols, principally flavan-3-ols, of unformulated- and phytosome-formulated cranberry extracts. After powder characterization, a 24-h fermentation with human faecal slurries was performed, standardizing the concentration of incubated proanthocyanidins. Cranberry (poly)phenol metabolites were quantified by uHPLC-MS2 analyses. The native compounds of both unformulated- and phytosome-formulated cranberry extracts were metabolized under faecal microbiota activity, resulting in twenty-four microbial metabolites. Although some differences appeared when considering different classes of colonic metabolites, no significant differences in the total amount of metabolites were established after 24 h of incubation period. These results suggested that a different formulation had no effect on flavan-3-ol colonic metabolism of cranberry and both unformulated- and phytosome-formulated extract. Both formulations displayed the capability to be a potential source of compounds which could lead to a wide array of gut microbiota metabolites in vitro.
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