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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2006 Oct;50(10):971-6.

Molecular weight of guar gum affects short-chain fatty acid profile in model intestinal fermentation.

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  • 1University of Minnesota, St. Paul, USA.


Dietary fiber exerts many beneficial physiological effects; however, not all types of dietary fiber display the same effects. Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG), a lower molecular weight form of guar gum, is more easily incorporated into food, but may have less pronounced physiological effects than the native form. The aim of this study was to identify differences in intestinal fermentability based on the molecular weight of guar gum. Guar gum of four molecular masses (15, 20, 400, and 1,100 kDa) was fermented using a batch in vitro fermentation system. Human fecal inoculum was the source of microbes. The 400-kDa fraction produced the greatest concentrations of total short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) at 8 h and the highest amounts of butyrate at 24 h. At 24 h, the 400-kDa fraction produced more total SCFA and propionate than the 15 kDa, but was not different than 20 kDa or 1,100 kDa fractions. The molecular weight of guar gum was positively correlated with acetate production and negatively correlated with propionate production. This study concludes that 400-kDa guar gum may be optimal for intestinal fermentability. In conclusion, the molecular weight of guar gum affects in vitro fermentability and should be considered when adding to a food or beverage.

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