Effects of Fructooligofructoses Chain Length on the Bifidobacteria of the Human Colon: A Pilot Study


Human gastrointestinal health may be improved by the consumption of prebiotic food ingredients such as fructooligo-fructoses. A study was initiated to determine the effect of fructooligofructoses of different chain lengths on gastrointes-tinal parameters. Nineteen healthy subjects aged 20 - 57 y took part in a 10-week cross-over designed study. Subjects consumed either inulin or oligofructose for 3 weeks followed by a 2-week washout period between treatments. Stool samples were collected five times (baseline, 2 treatments, 2 washout) and analyzed for bifidobacteria. Daily records were kept for stool frequency, stool consistency and flatulence frequency. Bifidobacteria counts (cfu/ml) were higher (trending toward significance) during inulin and oligofructose intakes (1.2 × 107 ± 4.8 × 107 and 2.0 × 108 ± 4.7 × 108) and washout periods (2.9 × 106 ± 6.5 × 106 and 1.1 × 107 ± 1.6 × 107) than baseline counts (2.2 × 105 ± 5.1 × 105 and 2.9 × 106 ± 6.5 × 106), respectively. Inulin and oligofructose treatment periods had a significant effect on stool consistency (watery/very hard) and flatulence frequency, but not stool frequency, when compared to baseline (P < 0.05). Further research is needed to confirm these results due to small sample size and the need for a longer washout period between treatments.

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K. Mendlik, J. Albrecht and M. Schnepf, "Effects of Fructooligofructoses Chain Length on the Bifidobacteria of the Human Colon: A Pilot Study," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 12, 2012, pp. 1615-1618. doi: 10.4236/fns.2012.312211.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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