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Int J Food Microbiol. 2008 May 10;124(1):27-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2008.02.013. Epub 2008 Feb 21.

In vitro kinetic analysis of carbohydrate and aromatic amino acid metabolism of different members of the human colon.

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Research Group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology (IMDO), Department of Applied Biological Sciences and Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.


The carbohydrate and aromatic amino acid metabolism of several species related to the human colon was investigated into more detail. Therefore, in vitro fermentations were performed, with different carbohydrate sources, during which several aromatic amino acids were added to the fermentation medium. Shifts in end-product formation in response to the available nutrients were observed for all strains tested. The major part of amino acid degradation occurred after depletion of the carbohydrates. Moreover, it was shown that Bifidobacterium strains are capable of degrading aromatic amino acids in the absence of carbohydrates. The excretion of certain intermediates of the aromatic amino acid metabolism was observed for a strain of Clostridium clostridioforme, after which they were metabolized again during a later stage of fermentation. This implies that cross-feeding on degradation products of aromatic amino acids, albeit within the same species, can occur in the human colon.

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