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 21 January 2018

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News

Prebiotic inulin-type fructans induce specific changes in the human gut microbiota

November's issue of Gut assessed the consequences of inulin fermentation both on the composition of the colon bacterial ecosystem and fecal metabolites profiles.

News image

Contrary to the long-standing prerequisite of inducing selective effects, recent findings suggest that prebiotic interventions lead to ecosystem-wide microbiota shifts.

Yet, a comprehensive characterization of this process is still lacking.

A decrease in Bilophila abundances following inulin consumption was associated with softer stools
Gut

Here, Dr Doris Vandeputte and colleagues apply 16S rDNA microbiota profiling and matching metabolomics to assess the consequences of inulin fermentation both on the composition of the colon bacterial ecosystem and fecal metabolites profiles.

The researchers collected fecal samples collected during a double-blind, randomized, cross-over intervention study.

The team assessed the effect of inulin consumption on stool frequency in healthy adults with mild constipation were analyzed.

Fecal microbiota composition and metabolite profiles were linked to the study's clinical outcome as well as to quality-of-life measurements recorded.

While fecal metabolite profiles were not significantly altered by inulin consumption, our analyses did detect a modest effect on global microbiota composition and specific inulin-induced changes in relative abundances of Anaerostipes, Bilophila and Bifidobacterium were identified.

The researchers observed that a decrease in Bilophila abundances following inulin consumption was associated with both softer stools, and a favorable change in constipation-specific quality-of-life measures.

Dr Vandeputte's team concludes, "Ecosystem-wide analysis of the effect of a dietary intervention with prebiotic inulin-type fructans on the colon microbiota revealed that this effect is specifically associated with 3 genera, one of which representing a promising novel target for mechanistic research."

Gut 2017;66:1968-1974
18 October 2017

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