Interactions with Cell Wall Polymers

Due to their varying structures, cell wall components have very different physicochemical properties, which are also reflected by their interactions with non-cell wall components. Several health benefits of cell wall constituents are suggested to be based on their interactions with specific compounds such as bile acids, toxicants etc. In the past, we were mostly interested in the interactions of cell wall constituents with bile acids and heterocyclic aromatic amines, common food-borne, mutagenic contaminants, which are mostly found in heated animal based products. To study these interactions, we do not only use natural sources of dietary fiber, but also cell walls (“dietary fiber”) from cell suspension cultures to manipulate fiber compositions for mechanistic studies. By using such models, we were able to demonstrate that neither lignin contents nor composition are relevant factors for the interactions between dietary fiber and bile acids, whereas the interactions of dietary fiber and specific heterocylic aromatic amines are strongly related to both the lignin content and, to a lesser degree, the lignin composition. Ongoing research studies are dealing with the interactions of fiber constituents with other contaminants and also non-toxic low molecular weight food constituents.