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J Nutr. 2000 Jul;130(7):1772-9.

In vitro fermentation pattern of D-tagatose is affected by adaptation of the microbiota from the gastrointestinal tract of pigs.

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  • 1Department of Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Research Center Foulum, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark.


Knowledge of the fermentation pattern of D-tagatose is important for the assessment of energy value and compliance of D-tagatose. In vitro fermentation experiments with pig intestinal contents and bacteria harvested from the gastrointestinal tract of pigs were used to investigate the degradation of D-tagatose and the formation of fermentation products. Two groups of eight pigs were fed either a control diet containing 150 g/kg sucrose or a diet which had 100 g/kg of the sucrose replaced by D-tagatose. After 18 d the pigs were killed and the gastrointestinal contents collected for in vitro studies. No microbial fermentation of D-tagatose occurred in the stomach or in the small intestine, whereas the sugar was fermented in the cecum and colon. Formate, acetate, propionate, butyrate, valerate, caproate and some heptanoate were produced by the microbial fermentation of D-tagatose by gut microbiota. Hydrogen and methane were also produced. The population of D-tagatose-degrading bacteria in fecal samples and the capacity of bacteria from the hindgut to degrade D-tagatose were higher in the pigs adapted to D-tagatose compared with unadapted pigs. In unadapted pigs, the major fermentation product from D-tagatose was acetic acid. Much more butyric and valeric acids were produced from D-tagatose by bacterial slurries of tagatose-adapted pigs compared with unadapted pigs; this was especially the case for samples from the colon. We conclude that D-tagatose is not fermented in the upper gastrointestinal tract, and the ability of the large intestinal microbiota to ferment D-tagatose is dependent on adaptation.

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