Combinations of indigestible carbohydrates affect short-chain fatty acid formation in the hindgut of rats

Asa M Henningsson, Inger M E Björck, E Margareta G L Nyman

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The fermentability and pattern of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) formed in the hindgut of rats given various combinations of dietary fibers (DF) and resistant starch (RS) were investigated. Highly fermentable indigestible carbohydrates, i.e., guar gum (GG), pectin (Pec) and high amylose cornstarch (HAS), and a DF with a relatively high resistance to fermentation, i.e., wheat bran (WB), were included. The substrates were studied individually or as mixtures (GG + Pec, GG + WB and HAS + WB, 1:1, wt/wt indigestible carbohydrate basis) at a total concentration of 100 g indigestible carbohydrates/kg diet and fed to rats for 13 d. Rats fed Pec had a high proportion of acetic acid in the cecum (76 +/- 2% of total SCFA), whereas those fed GG had the highest proportion of propionic acid (31 +/- 4%, P <0.0005). Rats fed GG and Pec had low proportions of butyric acid (6 +/- 1 and 10 +/- 1%, respectively), whereas those fed both had a higher proportion of butyric acid (15 +/- 3%, P < 0.05). Consequently, the cecal butyric acid pool was twice as high in rats fed the GG + Pec mixture (44 +/- 9 micro mol) as in those fed the individual components (19 +/- 2 and 21 +/- 3 micro mol, respectively, P < 0.05). Rats fed HAS with WB had a greater fecal excretion of SCFA (184 +/- 19 micro mol/d) than those fed the individual components (77 +/- 10 and 116 +/- 12 micro mol/d in rats fed HAS and WB, respectively P < 0.05), suggesting that incorporation of WB delayed the site of fermentation of HAS to the distal part of the hindgut. In conclusion, the combination of indigestible carbohydrates may affect both SCFA patterns and the site of SCFA release in the rat hindgut.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3098-104
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Oct

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Food Engineering


  • Animals
  • Cecum/metabolism
  • Colon/metabolism
  • Dietary Fiber/administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile/metabolism
  • Feces/chemistry
  • Fermentation
  • Male
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Solubility
  • Starch/administration & dosage


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