Intraintestinal fermentation of fructo- and galacto-oligosaccharides and the fate of short-chain fatty acids in humans

van Trijp, Mara P.H.; Rios-Morales, Melany; Witteman, Ben; Abegaz, Fentaw; Gerding, Albert; An, Ran; Koehorst, Martijn; Evers, Bernard; van Dongen, Katja C.V.; Zoetendal, Erwin G.; Schols, Henk; Afman, Lydia A.; Reijngoud, Dirk Jan; Bakker, Barbara M.; Hooiveld, Guido J.


Consumption of fructo- (FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) has health benefits which have been linked in part to short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) production by the gut microbiota. However, detailed knowledge of this process in the human intestine is lacking. We aimed to determine the acute fermentation kinetics of a FOS:GOS mixture in healthy males using a naso-intestinal catheter for sampling directly in the ileum or colon. We studied the fate of SCFA as substrates for glucose and lipid metabolism by the host after infusion of 13C-SCFA. In the human distal ileum, no fermentation of FOS:GOS, nor SCFA production, or bacterial cross-feeding was observed. The relative composition of intestinal microbiota changed rapidly during the test day, which demonstrates the relevance of postprandial intestinal sampling to track acute responses of the microbial community toward interventions. SCFA were vividly taken up and metabolized by the host as shown by incorporation of 13C in various host metabolites.