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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Plant-based proteins have gained popularity because of their high nutritional value and more sustainable alternative to animal-based proteins. Soybean and chickpea are two widely consumed plant-based proteins, whereas tempeh is a popular plant-based fermented whole food product that is rich in protein. With the increase in the development of plant-based food products, there is little research into how plant proteins affect gut microbiota characteristics and metabolites. Therefore, there is a need to understand the underlying mechanisms surrounding the consumption of these foods. The purpose of this study was to investigate the health benefits of soybean, chickpea, and their tempeh counterparts’ consumption as whole foods on the gut microbiota and metabolites.

Our results showed that soybean tempeh significantly increased the abundance of beneficial probiotic bacteria such as Roseburia and Ruminiclostridium 5 in the gut microbiota of mice. Additionally, soybean tempeh and soybean significantly increased Muribaculaeceae abundance, known to increase SCFA production in the colon. Lachnospiraceae NKA136 was significantly increased in soybean tempeh, soybean, and chickpea groups which may allow these foods to be used as a way of probiotic restoration. Our results showed that all dietary supplementation groups had significantly altered metabolic profiles compared to the control group. The soybean tempeh group had higher levels of peroxide (vitamin B6), myoinositol, and tetrahydrobiopterin while the chickpea tempeh group had higher levels of metabolites such as 3 hydroxyanthranilic acid. The soybean group had higher levels of metabolites such as 3-hydroxytryptophan (Oxitriptan) whereas the chickpea protein group had higher levels of metabolites such as 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid and oxitriptan.

In conclusion, our study suggests that different plant-based foods can have distinct effects on gut microbiota and metabolic profiles in mice. These findings may have implications for human health and warrant further investigation into the effects of plant protein consumption on human metabolism.


First Advisor

Hang Xiao