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Nutr Cancer. 1990;13(4):271-80.

Fermentative characteristics of cereal brans and vegetable fibers.

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Department of Foods & Nutrition, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Dietary fiber has been suggested to alter the colonic environment and protect against colorectal diseases, but several recent epidemiological studies indicate that cereal and vegetable fibers may not confer the same benefit. To address this issue, five common cereal brans (barley, corn, oat, rice, and wheat) and five vegetable fiber isolates (broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, and lettuce) were fermented in vitro with human fecal microbiota for 4, 8, 12, and 24 hours. Short-chain fatty acid (SCFA), hydrogen (H2), and methane (CH4) productions and neutral-detergent fiber (NDF) digestibility differed significantly with fiber source. The vegetable fibers were significantly more fermentable than were the cereal brans, as evidenced by greater NDF digestibility and increased productions of SCFA, H2, and CH4, despite the presence of fermentable starch and protein in the latter. We concluded that vegetable fibers may more effectively stimulate colonic fermentation than cereal brans do. These findings suggest an attribute (i.e., fermentability) that may partially explain previously observed differences between vegetable and cereal fiber consumption patterns and colorectal carcinogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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