PURPOSE The consumption of foods rich in dietary fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as nuts can contribute to a healthy diet. Therefore, the formation of fermentation end-products which might exert chemopreventive effects regarding colon cancer was investigated after an in vitro simulated digestion and fermentation of nuts using human fecal microbiota. METHODS Fermentation supernatants (FS) and pellets (FP) were obtained after an in vitro fermentation of hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia, pistachios and walnuts. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and bile acids (BA) in FS as well as fatty acids in FP were analyzed via gas chromatography. Malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in FS were determined photometrically. RESULTS Fermentation of nuts resulted in 1.9- to 2.8-fold higher concentrations of SCFA compared to the control and a shift of molar ratios toward butyrate production. In vitro fermentation resulted in the formation of vaccenic acid (C18:1t11, 32.1 ± 3.2 % FAME; fatty acid methyl ester) and conjugated linoleic acid (c9,t11 CLA, 2.4 ± 0.7 % FAME) exclusively in fermented walnut samples. Concentrations of secondary BA deoxycholic-/iso-deoxycholic acid (6.8-24.1-fold/4.9-10.9-fold, respectively) and levels of MDA (1.3-fold) were significantly reduced in fermented nut samples compared to the control. CONCLUSION This is the first study that demonstrates the ability of the human fecal microbiota to convert polyunsaturated fatty acids from walnuts to c9,t11 CLA as a potential chemopreventive metabolite. In addition, the production of butyrate and reduction in potential carcinogens such as secondary BA and lipid peroxidation products might contribute to the protective effects of nuts regarding colon cancer development.