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Enhancement of intestinal hydrolysis of lactose by microbial β-galactosidase (EC 3.2.1.23) of kefir

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2007

Michael De Vrese
Affiliation:
Institut für Physiologie und Biochemie der Ernährung, Bundesanstalt für Milchforschung, Hermann-Weigmann-Str. 1, D-2300 Kiel 1, Federal Republic ofGermany
Birgit Keller
Affiliation:
Institut für Physiologie und Biochemie der Ernährung, Bundesanstalt für Milchforschung, Hermann-Weigmann-Str. 1, D-2300 Kiel 1, Federal Republic ofGermany
Christian A. Barth
Affiliation:
Institut für Physiologie und Biochemie der Ernährung, Bundesanstalt für Milchforschung, Hermann-Weigmann-Str. 1, D-2300 Kiel 1, Federal Republic ofGermany
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Abstract

The effect of microbial β-galactosidase (EC 3.2.1.23) activity on intestinal lactose digestion was estimated directly by following post-prandial venous plasma galactose concentrations. To avoid superimposing effects of free galactose, as with yogurt, fresh or heat-treated suspensions of mechanically disintegrated kefir grains in kefir, containing lactose but no free galactose, were fed to ten Göttingen minipigs. Each meal contained 101·1 (SEM 0·1) mmol lactose in kefir supplemented by either native or heat-treated kefir grains corresponding to a mean β-galactosidase activity of either 72 (SEM 8) U or zero. Feeding kefir with β-galactosidase activity resulted in a 30% enhancement of the mean post-prandial plasma galactose peak concentration from 33 (SEM 7) to 43 (SEM 12) μmol/l (n 10), as well as in 23% greater mean areas under the galactose-response curves (8·1 (SEM 1·5) v. 6·6 (SEM 1·2) mmol/min per 1) if compared with kefir with heat-treated grains. Both differences were significant (P < 0·05; paired Wilcoxon test by ranks). There was no induction of intestinal β-galactosidase (EC 3.2.1.108) activity or intestinal lactose-hydrolysing bacteria by lactose feeding. These results give direct evidence of an enhanced lactose digestion and absorption in native fermented milk products due to the microbial β-galactosidase activity.

Type
Dietary Effects on Intestinal Digestion
Copyright
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 1992

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