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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Dec;75(23):7319-25. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00842-09. Epub 2009 Oct 2.

Glycoprofiling bifidobacterial consumption of galacto-oligosaccharides by mass spectrometry reveals strain-specific, preferential consumption of glycans.

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Department of Chemistry, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are versatile food ingredients that possess prebiotic properties. However, at present there is a lack of precise analytical methods to demonstrate specific GOS consumption by bifidobacteria. To better understand the role of GOS as prebiotics, purified GOS (pGOS) without disaccharides and monosaccharides was prepared and used in bacterial fermentation experiments. Growth curves showed that all bifidobacteria assayed utilized and grew on pGOS preparations. We used a novel mass spectrometry approach involving matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (MALDI-FTICR) to determine the composition of oligosaccharides in GOS syrup preparations. MALDI-FTICR analysis of spent fermentation media demonstrated that there was preferential consumption of selected pGOS species by different bifidobacteria. The approach described here demonstrates that MALDI-FTICR is a rapid-throughput tool for comprehensive profiling of oligosaccharides in GOS mixtures. In addition, the selective consumption of certain GOS species by different bifidobacteria suggests a means for targeting prebiotics to enrich select bifidobacterial species.

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