Author(s): Dongowski G, Lorenz A, Anger H
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Abstract A complete human fecal flora and cultures of defined species obtained from fecal flora were investigated in vitro to determine their ability to ferment the dietary fiber pectin. Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron was tested as a pectin-degrading microorganism alone and in coculture with Escherichia coli. Macromolecular pectins with different degrees of esterification were used as substrates in microbial degradation studies. The levels of oligogalacturonic acids formed in batch cultures were estimated during a 24- or 48-h incubation period by using high-performance thin-layer chromatography and high-performance anion-exchange chromatography. The spectrum and the amount of unsaturated oligogalacturonic acids formed as intermediate products of pectin fermentation changed permanently in the culture media during incubation with the complete fecal flora. After 24 h, no oligogalacturonic acids were detected. The pectin-degrading activities of pure cultures of B. thetaiotaomicron were lower than the pectin-degrading activity of a complete fecal flora. Cocultures of B. thetaiotaomicron and E. coli exhibited intermediate levels of degradation activity. In pure cultures of E. coli no pectin-degrading activity was found. Additionally, the rate of pectin degradation was affected by the degree of esterification of the substrate. Saturated oligogalacturonic acids were not found during pectin fermentation. The disappearance of oligogalacturonic acids in the later stages of fermentation with both the complete fecal flora and B. thetaiotaomicron was accompanied by increased formation of short-chain fatty acids.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Pharmaceutica Analytica Acta