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Journal of Functional Foods
Vol. 16, 2015, Pages: 211–222

Addition of acacia gum to a FOS/inulin blend improves its fermentation profile in the Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME®)

Massimo Marzorati, Bingcai Qin, Falk Hildebrand, Abby Klosterbuer, Zamzam Roughead, Claudia Roessle, Florence Rochat, Jeroen Raes, Sam Possemiers

Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET), Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.


The Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME®) was used to assess the impact of the partial substitution of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin by acacia gum in a fibre blend. Both blends were well fermented and the presence of acacia gum modified the intestinal fermentation of the blend from a boosted fermentation into a gradual one in the complete colon. Confirmation of the gradual fermentation was obtained by analysis of the pH profile, measurement of the residual acacia gum fractions in the colon and by the increased expression of specific catabolic enzymes. Both blends increased the total amount of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs; +42mmol/L), propionate (+26mmol/L) and butyrate (+9mmol/L) and showed bifidogenic properties. Metagenomic Illumina sequencing confirmed that the blends exerted a diverse modulating activity in the different areas of the colon. Long-term repeated administration of the prebiotic blends is needed to reach gradual changes in the gut microbial community structure and activity. The partial substitution of FOS and inulin by acacia gum slowed the speed of the fermentation of the blend. In humans, this may translate into benefits for gut health, allowing for incorporation of higher amounts of fibre into the diet.

Keywords: Colonic fermentation; Gastrointestinal tract; SHIME®; Acacia gum; Prebiotic fibre.

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