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Postprandial differences in the plasma metabolome of healthy Finnish subjects after intake of a sourdough fermented endosperm rye bread versus white wheat bread

Isabel Bondia-Pons1, Emilia Nordlund2, Ismo Mattila2, Kati Katina2, Anna-Marja Aura2, Marjukka Kolehmainen1, Matej Orešič2, Hannu Mykkänen1 and Kaisa Poutanen12*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition. Clinical Nutrition, Food and Health Research Centre. University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio Campus. P.O. Box 1627, FIN-70211. Kuopio, Finland

2 VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. P.O.Box 1000, FI-02044. Tietotie 2, Espoo, Finland

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:116  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-116

Published: 19 October 2011



The mechanism behind the lowered postprandial insulin demand observed after rye bread intake compared to wheat bread is unknown. The aim of this study was to use the metabolomics approach to identify potential metabolites related to amino acid metabolism involved in this mechanism.


A sourdough fermented endosperm rye bread (RB) and a standard white wheat bread (WB) as a reference were served in random order to 16 healthy subjects. Test bread portions contained 50 g available carbohydrate. In vitro hydrolysis of starch and protein were performed for both test breads. Blood samples for measuring glucose and insulin concentrations were drawn over 4 h and gastric emptying rate (GER) was measured. Changes in the plasma metabolome were investigated by applying a comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry metabolomics platform (GC×GC-TOF-MS).


Plasma insulin response to RB was lower than to WB at 30 min (P = 0.004), 45 min (P = 0.002) and 60 min (P < 0.001) after bread intake, and plasma glucose response was significantly higher at time point 90 min after RB than WB intake (P = 0.045). The starch hydrolysis rate was higher for RB than WB, contrary to the in vitro protein digestibility. There were no differences in GER between breads. From 255 metabolites identified by the metabolomics platform, 26 showed significant postprandial relative changes after 30 minutes of bread intake (p and q values < 0.05). Among them, there were changes in essential amino acids (phenylalanine, methionine, tyrosine and glutamic acid), metabolites involved in the tricarboxylic acid cycle (alpha-ketoglutaric, pyruvic acid and citric acid) and several organic acids. Interestingly, the levels of two compounds involved in the tryptophan metabolism (picolinic acid, ribitol) significantly changed depending on the different bread intake.


A single meal of a low fibre sourdough rye bread producing low postprandial insulin response brings in several changes in plasma amino acids and their metabolites and some of these might have properties beneficial for health.

postprandial; rye bread; insulin; plasma metabolome; two-dimensional gas chromatography; gastric emptying rate