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Gut Fermentation of Dietary Fibres: Physico-Chemistry of Plant Cell Walls and Implications for Health

ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Cell Walls, Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contribute equally to this work.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(10), 2203; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18102203
Received: 5 September 2017 / Revised: 6 October 2017 / Accepted: 17 October 2017 / Published: 20 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Fibre: New Insights on Biochemistry and Health Benefits)
The majority of dietary fibre (DF) originates from plant cell walls. Chemically, DF mostly comprise carbohydrate polymers, which resist hydrolysis by digestive enzymes in the mammalian small intestine, but can be fermented by large intestinal bacteria. One of the main benefits of DF relate to its fermentability, which affects microbial diversity and function within the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT), as well as the by-products of the fermentation process. Much work examining DF tends to focus on various purified ingredients, which have been extracted from plants. Increasingly, the validity of this is being questioned in terms of human nutrition, as there is evidence to suggest that it is the actual complexity of DF which affects the complexity of the GIT microbiota. Here, we review the literature comparing results of fermentation of purified DF substrates, with whole plant foods. There are strong indications that the more complex and varied the diet (and its ingredients), the more complex and varied the GIT microbiota is likely to be. Therefore, it is proposed that as the DF fermentability resulting from this complex microbial population has such profound effects on human health in relation to diet, it would be appropriate to include DF fermentability in its characterization—a functional approach of immediate relevance to nutrition. View Full-Text
Keywords: large intestinal fermentation; microbiota; polyphenols; plant cell walls; fruit; vegetables; cereals; short-chain fatty acids large intestinal fermentation; microbiota; polyphenols; plant cell walls; fruit; vegetables; cereals; short-chain fatty acids
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Williams, B.A.; Grant, L.J.; Gidley, M.J.; Mikkelsen, D. Gut Fermentation of Dietary Fibres: Physico-Chemistry of Plant Cell Walls and Implications for Health. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 2203.

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