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J Nutr. 2005 Jul;135(7):1726-31.

A novel galactooligosaccharide mixture increases the bifidobacterial population numbers in a continuous in vitro fermentation system and in the proximal colonic contents of pigs in vivo.

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School of Food Biosciences, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AP, UK.


Prebiotics are nondigestible food ingredients that encourage proliferation of selected groups of the colonic microflora, thereby altering the composition toward a more beneficial community. In the present study, the prebiotic potential of a novel galactooligosaccharide (GOS) mixture, produced by the activity of galactosyltransferases from Bifidobacterium bifidum 41171 on lactose, was assessed in vitro and in a parallel continuous randomized pig trial. In situ fluorescent hybridization with 16S rRNA-targeted probes was used to investigate changes in total bacteria, bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, bacteroides, and Clostridium histolyticum group in response to supplementing the novel GOS mixture. In a 3-stage continuous culture system, the bifidobacterial numbers for the first 2 vessels, which represented the proximal and traverse colon, increased (P < 0.05) after the addition of the oligosaccharide mixture. In addition, the oligosaccharide mixture strongly inhibited the attachment of enterohepatic Escherichia coli (P < 0.01) and Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium (P < 0.01) to HT29 cells. Addition of the novel mixture at 4% (wt:wt) to a commercial diet increased the density of bifidobacteria (P < 0.001) and the acetate concentration (P < 0.001), and decreased the pH (P < 0.001) compared with the control diet and the control diet supplemented with inulin, suggesting a great prebiotic potential for the novel oligosaccharide mixture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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