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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2002 Mar 19;209(1):53-6.

Evaluation of N-acetylchitooligosaccharides as the main carbon sources for the growth of intestinal bacteria.

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Department of Food Science, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung 202, Taiwan.


N-Acetylchitooligosaccharides ((GlcNAc)(n)) with different degrees of polymerization (n=1-6) were prepared as the main carbon sources in media for evaluating the growth of nine intestinal bacteria. A chitohydrolysate was prepared by hydrolyzing shrimp-shell chitin using HCl. After purification, the purity of each (GlcNAc)(1-6) was >86%. The growth of intestinal bacteria was carried out in a basal medium (BM) containing 0.2% (w/v) of each sugar or glucose as the main carbon source and was evaluated using maximum cell densities and specific growth rates. Bacteroides fragilis and Clostridium perfringens could respectively utilize GlcNAc and (GlcNAc)(2) more efficiently for growth than glucose. Bifidobacterium adolescentis and Eubacterium limosum could use (GlcNAc)(1-6) slightly as their main carbon source. Escherichia coli, Lactococcus lactis and Proteus vulgaris could utilize glucose more efficiently than (GlcNac)(1-6). GlcNAc was used more readily than (GlcNAc)(2-6) by Staphylococcus aureus, exhibiting almost the same specific growth rates. In BM, Streptococcus faecalis grew well even without adding each of the sugars tested.

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