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Effects of inulin on faecal bifidobacteria in human subjects

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2007

Hans-P. Kruse*
University of Potsdam, Institute of Nutritional Science, Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 114–116, D-14558 Bergholz-Rehbruecke, Germany
Brigitta Kleessen
German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 114–116, D-14558 Bergholz-Rehbruecke, Germany
Michael Blaut
German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 114–116, D-14558 Bergholz-Rehbruecke, Germany
*Corresponding author: Dr Hans-P. Kruse, fax +49 33 2008 8573, email
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A controlled study with eight healthy free-living subjects was carried out, in which energy intake was adjusted to the individual energy requirements. On administration of inulin, blood lipids, the faecal microflora, short-chain fatty acids and accompanying gastrointestinal symptoms were characterized in order to investigate the long-term effect of inulin. During the run-in phase (8 d), subjects received a typical Western diet providing 45 % energy as fat and 40 % energy as carbohydrate. Subsequently, the subjects consumed a fat-reduced diet which provided 30 % energy as fat and 55 % energy as carbohydrate for a period of 64 d using inulin as a fat replacer. The amounts of inulin consumed by the subjects (up to 34 g/d) were based on individual energy requirements with the aim to keep the diet isoenergetic with that used in the run-in period. To assess the effects of inulin administration, a control study (run-in and intervention) was carried out in which subjects consumed the same diet but devoid of inulin during the whole course of the study. To investigate the effect of inulin on faecal flora composition total bacteria and bifidobacteria in the faeces were enumerated by in situ hybridization with 16S rRNA targeted oligonucleotide probes. Inulin significantly increased bifidobacteria from 9·8 to 11·0 log10/g dry faeces and caused a moderate increase in gastrointestinal symptoms such as flatulence and bloatedness, whereas blood lipids and short-chain fatty acids remained essentially unaffected.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 1999


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