Bacterial Metabolism of Tyrosine and Tryptophan

Tyrosine and tryptophan are amino acids that can be converted by bacterial reactions in toxins and carcinogens. The tryptophanase containing Bacteroides thetaiotamicron, an organism found in the intestine, can convert tryptophan to indole a compound with carcinogenic activity (75).

Tyrosine is converted to phenol by aerobic intestinal bacteria, and to p-cresol by intestinal anaerobic bacteria. These metabolites of tyrosine are not found in the urine of germfree mice. Phenol and cresol have been shown to be tumor promoters in mice.

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