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Biochem J. 1996 Feb 15;314 ( Pt 1):269-75.

Emulsification and lipolysis of triacylglycerols are altered by viscous soluble dietary fibres in acidic gastric medium in vitro.

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  • 1Unité 130-INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research), Marseille, France.


This in vitro study was designed to test the hypothesis that soluble dietary fibres can alter the process of intragastric lipid emulsification and possibly subsequent triacylglycerol lipolysis. Three guar gums, two pectins and gum arabic were dissolved in acidic gastric medium in the concentration range 0.3-2.0% (w/v). Viscosities of fibre solutions were measured and apparent viscosities varied over a wide range (0.7-77 mPa/s). Emulsification of a lipid mixture (triolein/phosphatidylcholine/cholesterol) was performed under mild conditions in the presence of increasing concentrations of soluble fibres. The amount of emulsified lipid was not affected whereas the size of the emulsified droplets was increased by raising the concentration of viscous fibres only. The droplet size (r=0.75, P=0.006) and overall droplet surface area (r=-0.69, P=0.009) were strongly correlated with the medium viscosity in the range 0-20 mPa/s. The addition of solutions of viscous fibres to a preformed standard emulsion did not change the initial velocity of human gastric lipase reaction. Conversely, when emulsions prepared in the presence of fibres (i.e. with different droplet sizes) were incubated with excess gastric enzyme for 2 h, the high-viscosity guar gum significantly reduced the extent of triacylglycerol lipolysis, as compared with control and low- or medium-viscosity fibres. In conclusion, the data obtained show that reducing emulsification of dietary lipids in the mildly acid medium found in the stomach is a mechanism by which soluble viscous fibres can alter lipid assimilation.

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