Discovery and validation of banana intake biomarkers using untargeted metabolomics in human intervention and cross-sectional studies

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Vazquez Manjarrez, Natalia
  • Christoph H Weinert
  • Maria M Ulaszewska
  • Carina I Mack
  • Pierre Micheau
  • Mélanie Pétéra
  • Stephanie Durand
  • Estelle Pujos-Guillot
  • Björn Egert
  • Fulvio Mattivi
  • Achim Bub
  • Dragsted, Lars Ove
  • Sabine E Kulling
  • Claudine Manach

Background: Banana is one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world. However, information regarding its health effects is scarce. Biomarkers of banana intake would allow a more accurate assessment of its consumption in nutrition studies.

Objectives: Using an untargeted metabolomics approach, we aimed to identify the banana-derived metabolites present in urine after consumption, including new candidate biomarkers of banana intake.

Methods: A randomized controlled study with a crossover design was performed on 12 healthy subjects (6 men, 6 women, mean ± SD age: 30.0 ± 4.9 y; mean ± SD BMI: 22.5 ± 2.3 kg/m2). Subjects underwent 2 dietary interventions: 1) 250 mL control drink (Fresubin 2 kcal fiber, neutral flavor; Fresenius Kabi), and 2) 240 g banana + 150 mL control drink. Twenty-four-hour urine samples were collected and analyzed with ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled to a quadrupole time-of-flight MS and 2-dimensional GC-MS. The discovered biomarkers were confirmed in a cross-sectional study [KarMeN (Karlsruhe Metabolomics and Nutrition study)] in which 78 subjects (mean BMI: 22.8; mean age: 47 y) were selected reflecting high intake (126-378 g/d), low intake (47.3-94.5 g/d), and nonconsumption of banana. The confirmed biomarkers were examined singly or in combinations, for established criteria of validation for biomarkers of food intake.

Results: We identified 33 potentially bioactive banana metabolites, of which 5 metabolites, methoxyeugenol glucuronide (MEUG-GLUC), dopamine sulfate (DOP-S), salsolinol sulfate, xanthurenic acid, and 6-hydroxy-1-methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-β-carboline sulfate, were confirmed as candidate intake biomarkers. We demonstrated that the combination of MEUG-GLUC and DOP-S performed best in predicting banana intake in high (AUCtest = 0.92) and low (AUCtest = 0.87) consumers. The new biomarkers met key criteria establishing their current applicability in nutrition and health research for assessing the occurrence of banana intake.

Conclusions: Our metabolomics study in healthy men and women revealed new putative bioactive metabolites of banana and a combined biomarker of intake. These findings will help to better decipher the health effects of banana in future focused studies. This study was registered at as NCT03581955 and with the Ethical Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects Sud-Est 6 as CPP AU 1251, IDRCB 2016-A0013-48; the KarMeN study was registered with the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS00004890). Details about the study can be obtained from

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1701-1713
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright © American Society for Nutrition 2019.

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Banana, Biomarkers of intake, Dietary assessment, Dopamine, Salsolinol, Methoxyeugenol, Tetrahydro-β-carbolines, Untargeted, Nutrimetabolomics

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