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Anal Chem. 2008 Jan 1;80(1):159-65. Epub 2007 Nov 29.

Analysis and quantitation of fructooligosaccharides using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry.

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Department of Chemistry, Microbiology Graduate Group, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Inulin is a class of fructooligosaccharide (FOS) derived from plants, which is often used as a natural food ingredient. Inulin is currently used as an additive in baked goods, dairy products, infant formula, and dietary supplements as a result of its purported health-promoting properties. The growth of health-promoting lactobacilli and bifidobacteria is supported by FOS, giving it the classification of a prebiotic; however, its ability to selectivity stimulate only beneficial bacteria has not been demonstrated. In order to better understand the role of inulin and FOS as prebiotics, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry has been used for qualitative and quantitative analysis on bacterial growth. A method using an internal standard has been developed to quantify the consumption of FOS by Bifidobacterium longum bv. infantis using a calibration curve. Due to the differential consumption of FOS, the calibration curve was modified to include intensity components for each polymer unit in order to achieve more accurate quantitation. The method described was designed to be more rapid, precise, and robust for quantitative analysis when compared to existing methods.

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