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J Nutr. 1998 Aug;128(8):1385-91.

Dietary guar gum and pectin stimulate intestinal microbial polyamine synthesis in rats.

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German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Department of Gastrointestinal Microbiology, 14558 Bergholz-Rehbrücke, Germany.


The effects of two highly fermentable dietary fibers (guar gum and pectin) on the type and concentrations of cecal polyamines as affected by the intestinal microflora were studied in groups of germ-free (n = 10/group) and conventional rats (n = 6/group). Both germ-free and conventional rats were randomly assigned to one of three treatments as follows: 1) fiber-free control diet, 2) control diet + 10% guar gum and 3) control diet + 10% pectin. In germ-free rats, guar gum and pectin had no effect on cecal polyamine concentrations. Putrescine was confirmed to be the major endogenous polyamine within the gut lumen. In cecal contents of conventional rats, both guar gum and pectin led to the appearance of cadaverine and to elevated putrescine concentrations in comparison with the fiber-free control diet (1.35 +/- 0.15 and 2.27 +/- 0.32, respectively, vs. 0.20 +/- 0.03 micromol/g dry weight, P < 0.05). The cecal cadaverine concentration was higher in pectin- than in guar-fed rats (8.20 +/- 0.89 vs. 1.92 +/- 0.27 micromol/g dry weight, P < 0.05). Counts of total bacteria, bacteroides, fusobacteria and enterobacteria were higher (P < 0.05) in rats fed guar gum and pectin. Bifidobacteria were found exclusively in guar-fed rats. In vitro studies on selected species representing the numerically dominant population groups of the human gut flora (bacteroides, fusobacteria, anaerobic cocci and bifidobacteria) were examined for their ability to synthesize intracellular polyamines. These experiments demonstrated the ability of bacteroides, fusobacteria and anaerobic cocci to synthesize high amounts of putrescine and spermidine. Calculations based on these results suggest that the intestinal microflora are a major source of polyamines in the contents of the large intestine.

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