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Open AccessArticle

Quantification of in Vivo Colonic Short Chain Fatty Acid Production from Inulin

Translational Research in Gastrointestinal Disorders, KU Leuven, Leuven 3000, Belgium
Leuven Food Science and Nutrition Research Centre, KU Leuven, Leuven 3000, Belgium
Clinical Department of Laboratory Medicine, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven 3000, Belgium
Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Ghent University, Merelbeke 9820, Belgium
Centre for Food and Microbial Technology, KU Leuven, Leuven 3000, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2015, 7(11), 8916-8929;
Received: 27 August 2015 / Revised: 16 October 2015 / Accepted: 20 October 2015 / Published: 28 October 2015
Short chain fatty acids (SCFA), including acetate, propionate, and butyrate, are produced during bacterial fermentation of undigested carbohydrates in the human colon. In this study, we applied a stable-isotope dilution method to quantify the in vivo colonic production of SCFA in healthy humans after consumption of inulin. Twelve healthy subjects performed a test day during which a primed continuous intravenous infusion with [1-13C]acetate, [1-13C]propionate and [1-13C]butyrate (12, 1.2 and 0.6 μmol·kg−1·min−1, respectively) was applied. They consumed 15 g of inulin with a standard breakfast. Breath and blood samples were collected at regular times during the day over a 12 h period. The endogenous rate of appearance of acetate, propionate, and butyrate was 13.3 ± 4.8, 0.27 ± 0.09, and 0.28 ± 0.12 μmol·kg−1·min−1, respectively. Colonic inulin fermentation was estimated to be 137 ± 75 mmol acetate, 11 ± 9 mmol propionate, and 20 ± 17 mmol butyrate over 12 h, assuming that 40%, 10%, and 5% of colonic derived acetate, propionate, and butyrate enter the systemic circulation. In conclusion, inulin is mainly fermented into acetate and, to lesser extents, into butyrate and propionate. Stable isotope technology allows quantifying the production of the three main SCFA in vivo and proved to be a practical tool to investigate the extent and pattern of SCFA production. View Full-Text
Keywords: short chain fatty acids; colonic fermentation; inulin short chain fatty acids; colonic fermentation; inulin
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Boets, E.; Deroover, L.; Houben, E.; Vermeulen, K.; Gomand, S.V.; Delcour, J.A.; Verbeke, K. Quantification of in Vivo Colonic Short Chain Fatty Acid Production from Inulin. Nutrients 2015, 7, 8916-8929.

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