Cross-feeding and butyrogenic effect of inuline-type fructans: in vitro and in vivo analysis

Project Details


An important objective in the development of new prebiotics is to increase the colonic butyrate production. Butyrate is a major end product of carbohydrate fermentation and plays an important role in the metabolism of epithelial cells. Het mechanism of butyrate production due to fermentation of inulin-type fructans will be studied. Addition of inulin-type fructans to the diet results in an increase of the numbers of bifidobacteria. Since bifidobacteria do not produce butyrate, this can not account for the observed butyrogenic effect. Recent studies have suggested a mechanism of cross-feeding between inulin degrading and butyrate producing colonic bacteria as the basis of the butyrogenic effect. Using laboratory fermentations, we will draw up metabolite profiles and kinetic models for selected colonic bacteria and demonstrate cross-feeding in vitro. In intervention studies in healthy subjects, we will investigate whether cross-feeding can be demonstrated in vivo.
Effective start/end date1/01/0731/12/10

Flemish discipline codes

  • Biological sciences


  • colon fermentation