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Open AccessArticle

Prebiotic Dietary Fiber and Gut Health: Comparing the in Vitro Fermentations of Beta-Glucan, Inulin and Xylooligosaccharide

Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, 1334 Eckles Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
Informatics Institute, University of Minnesota, 101 Pleasant St., Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Authors contributed equally to this work.
Nutrients 2017, 9(12), 1361;
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 9 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbohydrate Metabolism in Health and Disease)
Prebiotic dietary fiber supplements are commonly consumed to help meet fiber recommendations and improve gastrointestinal health by stimulating beneficial bacteria and the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), molecules beneficial to host health. The objective of this research project was to compare potential prebiotic effects and fermentability of five commonly consumed fibers using an in vitro fermentation system measuring changes in fecal microbiota, total gas production and formation of common SCFAs. Fecal donations were collected from three healthy volunteers. Materials analyzed included: pure beta-glucan, Oatwell (commercially available oat-bran containing 22% oat β-glucan), xylooligosaccharides (XOS), WholeFiber (dried chicory root containing inulin, pectin, and hemi/celluloses), and pure inulin. Oatwell had the highest production of propionate at 12 h (4.76 μmol/mL) compared to inulin, WholeFiber and XOS samples (p < 0.03). Oatwell’s effect was similar to those of the pure beta-glucan samples, both samples promoted the highest mean propionate production at 24 h. XOS resulted in a significant increase in the genus Bifidobacterium after 24 h of fermentation (0 h:0.67 OTUs (operational taxonomic unit); 24 h:5.22 OTUs; p = 0.038). Inulin and WholeFiber increased the beneficial genus Collinsella, consistent with findings in clinical studies. All analyzed compounds were fermentable and promoted the formation of beneficial SCFAs. View Full-Text
Keywords: prebiotic; microbiota; fermentation; dietary fiber; microbiome prebiotic; microbiota; fermentation; dietary fiber; microbiome
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Carlson, J.L.; Erickson, J.M.; Hess, J.M.; Gould, T.J.; Slavin, J.L. Prebiotic Dietary Fiber and Gut Health: Comparing the in Vitro Fermentations of Beta-Glucan, Inulin and Xylooligosaccharide. Nutrients 2017, 9, 1361.

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