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Effect of the Degree of Polymerization of Fructans on Ex Vivo Fermented Human Gut Microbiome

AB-Biotics, S.A, ESADE Creapolis, Av. Torre Blanca, 57, E-08172 Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona), Spain
Department of Nutrition, Food Science, and Gastronomy, XaRTA—INSA, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, Campus de l’Alimentació de Torribera, Av. Prat de la Riba, 171, E-08921 Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Spain
Animal Nutrition and Welfare Service (SNIBA), Building V. Office V0-308, Autonomous University of Barcelona, C/ Travessera dels Turons s/n, E-08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Present address: Devicare, S.A, Eureka Building, UAB Research Park, Av. Can Domènech s/n, E-8193 Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona), Spain.
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1293;
Received: 28 April 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 4 June 2019 / Published: 7 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Fiber and Human Health)
PDF [1791 KB, uploaded 7 June 2019]


Prebiotic supplements are used to promote gastrointestinal health by stimulating beneficial bacteria. The aim of this study was to compare the potential prebiotic effects of fructans with increasing degrees of polymerization, namely fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and inulins with a low and high polymerization degree (LPDI and HPDI, respectively), using an ex vivo fermentation system to simulate the colonic environment. The system was inoculated with pooled feces from three healthy donors with the same baseline enterotype. Changes in microbiota composition were measured by 16S metagenomic sequencing after 2, 7, and 14 days of fermentation, and acid production was measured throughout the experiment. Alpha-diversity decreased upon inoculation of the ex vivo fermentation under all treatments. Composition changed significantly across both treatments and time (ANOSIM p < 0.005 for both factors). HPDI and LPDI seemed to be similar to each other regarding composition and acidification activity, but different from the control and FOS. FOS differed from the control in terms of composition but not acidification. HDPI restored alpha-diversity on day 14 as compared to the control (Bonferroni p < 0.05). In conclusion, the prebiotic activity of fructans appears to depend on the degree of polymerization, with LPDI and especially HPDI having a greater effect than FOS. View Full-Text
Keywords: prebiotic; inulin-type fructan; fructooligosaccharide; polymerization degree; metagenomics; microbiome prebiotic; inulin-type fructan; fructooligosaccharide; polymerization degree; metagenomics; microbiome

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Astó, E.; Méndez, I.; Rodríguez-Prado, M.; Cuñé, J.; Espadaler, J.; Farran-Codina, A. Effect of the Degree of Polymerization of Fructans on Ex Vivo Fermented Human Gut Microbiome. Nutrients 2019, 11, 1293.

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