British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

NMR-based metabonomic studies reveal changes in the biochemical profile of plasma and urine from pigs fed high-fibre rye bread

Hanne C. Bertrama1 c1, Knud E. Bach Knudsena2, Anja Serenaa2, Anders Malmendala3, Niels Chr. Nielsena3, Xavier C. Frettéa1 and Henrik J. Andersena1

a1 Department of Food Science, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark

a2 Department of Animal Health, Welfare and Nutrition, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark

a3 Department of Chemistry and Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), University of Aarhus, Langelandsgade 140, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark


This study presents an NMR-based metabonomic approach to elucidate the overall endogenous biochemical effects of a wholegrain diet. Two diets with similar levels of dietary fibre and macronutrients, but with contrasting levels of wholegrain ingredients, were prepared from wholegrain rye (wholegrain diet (WGD)) and non-wholegrain wheat (non-wholegrain diet (NWD)) and fed to four pigs in a crossover design. Plasma samples were collected after 7 d on each diet, and 1H NMR spectra were acquired on these. Partial least squares regression discriminant analysis (PLSDA) on spectra obtained for plasma samples revealed that the spectral region at 3·25 parts per million dominates the differentiation between the two diets, as the WGD is associated with higher spectral intensity in this region. Spiking experiments and LC–MS analyses of the plasma verified that this spectral difference could be ascribed to a significantly higher content of betaine in WGD plasma samples compared with NWD samples. In an identical study with the same diets, urine samples were collected, and1H NMR spectra were acquired on these. PLS-DA on spectra obtained for urine samples revealed changes in the intensities of spectral regions, which could be ascribed to differences in the content of betaine and creatine/creatinine between the two diets, and LC–MS analyses verified a significantly lower content of creatinine in WGD urine samples compared with NWD urine samples. In conclusion, using an explorative approach, the present studies disclosed biochemical effects of a wholegrain diet on plasma betaine content and excretion of betaine and creatinine.

(Received August 09 2005)

(Revised January 13 2006)

(Accepted January 29 2006)


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr Hanne C. Bertram, fax +45 89 99 15 64, email