Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Regulation of short-chain fatty acid production

  • Sandra Macfarlane (a1) and George T. Macfarlane (a1)

Abstract

Short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) formation by intestinal bacteria is regulated by many different host, environmental, dietary and microbiological factors. In broad terms, however, substrate availability, bacterial species composition of the microbiota and intestinal transit time largely determine the amounts and types of SCFA that are produced in healthy individuals. The majority of SCFA in the gut are derived from bacterial breakdown of complex carbohydrates, especially in the proximal bowel, but digestion of proteins and peptides makes an increasing contribution to SCFA production as food residues pass through the bowel. Bacterial hydrogen metabolism also affects the way in which SCFA are made. This outcome can be seen through the effects of inorganic electron acceptors (nitrate, sulfate) on fermentation processes, where they facilitate the formation of more oxidised SCFA such as acetate, at the expense of more reduced fatty acids, such as butyrate. Chemostat studies using pure cultures of saccharolytic gut micro-organisms demonstrate that C availability and growth rate strongly affect the outcome of fermentation. For example, acetate and formate are the major bifidobacterial fermentation products formed during growth under C limitation, whereas acetate and lactate are produced when carbohydrate is in excess. Lactate is also used as an electron sink in Clostridium perfringens and, to a lesser extent, in Bacteroides fragilis. In the latter organism acetate and succinate are the major fermentation products when substrate is abundant, whereas succinate is decarboxylated to produce propionate when C and energy sources are limiting.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Regulation of short-chain fatty acid production
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Regulation of short-chain fatty acid production
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Regulation of short-chain fatty acid production
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Professor G. T. Macfarlane, fax +44 1382 633952, g.t.macfarlane@dundee.ac.uk

References

Hide All
Allison, C, Macfarlane, GT (1988) Effect of nitrate on methane production and fermentation in slurries of human faecal bacteria. Journal of General Microbiology 134, 13971405.
Bernalier, A, Dore, J, Durand, M (1999) Biochemistry of fermentation Colonic Microbiota, Nutrition and Health 3753 [Gibson, GRRoberfroid, MB, editor]. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Cummings, JH (1978) Diet and transit through the gut. Journal of Plant Foods 3, 8395.
Cummings, JH, Bingham, SA, Heaton, KW, Eastwood, MA (1992) Fecal weight, colon cancer risk, and dietary intake of nonstarch polysaccharides (dietary fiber). Gastroenterology 103, 17831789.
Cummings, JH, Hill, MJ, Bone, ES, Branch, WJ, Jenkins, DJA (1979) The effect of meat protein and dietary fiber on colonic function and metabolism. Part II. Bacterial metabolites in feces and urine. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 32, 20942101.
Cummings, JH, Macfarlane, GT (1991) The control and consequences of bacterial fermentation in the human colon – a review. Journal of Applied Bacteriology 70, 443459.
Cummings, JH, Pomare, EW, Branch, WJ, Naylor, CPE, Macfarlane, GT (1987) Short chain fatty acids in human large intestine, portal, hepatic and venous blood. Gut 28, 12211227.
Degnan, BA (1992) Transport and metabolism of carbohydrates by anaerobic gut bacteria. PhD thesis, University of Cambridge.
DeVries, W, Stouthamer, AH (1968) Fermentation of glucose, lactose, galactose, mannitol and xylose by bifidobacteria. Journal of Bacteriology 96, 472478.
Englyst, HN, Hay, S, Macfarlane, GT (1987) Polysaccharide breakdown by mixed populations of human faecal bacteria. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 95, 163171.
Etterlin, C, McKeown, A, Bingham, SA, Elia, M, Macfarlane, GT, Cummings, JH (1992) D-Lactate and acetate as markers of fermentation in man. Gastroenterology 102 A551.
Gibson, GR, Macfarlane, S, Macfarlane, GT (1993) Metabolic interactions involving sulphate-reducing and methanogenic bacteria in the human large intestine. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 12, 117125.
Macfarlane, GT (1991) Fermentation reactions in the large intestine. In Short Chain Fatty Acids: Metabolism and Clinical Importance 510 [Cummings, JHRombeau, JLSakata, T, editor]. Columbus, OH: Ross Laboratories Press.
Macfarlane, GT, Cummings, JH (1991) The colonic flora, fermentation and large bowel digestive function. In The Large Intestine: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Disease 5192 [Phillips, SFPemberton, JHShorter, RG, editor]. New York: Raven Press Ltd.
Macfarlane, GT, Englyst, HN (1986) Starch utilization by the human large intestinal microflora. Journal of Applied Bacteriology 60, 195201.
Macfarlane, GT, Gibson, GR (1994) Metabolic activities of the normal colonic flora Human Health: The Contribution of Microorganisms 1752 [Gibson, SAW, editor]. London: Springer Verlag.
Macfarlane, GT, Gibson, GR (1995) Microbiological aspects of short chain fatty acid production in the large bowel. In Physiological and Clinical Aspects of Short Chain Fatty Acid Metabolism 87105 [Cummings, JHRombeau, JLSakata, T, editor]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Macfarlane, GT, Gibson, GR (1996) Carbohydrate fermentation, energy transduction and gas metabolism in the human large intestine. In Ecology and Physiology of Gastrointestinal Microbes: Gastrointestinal Fermentations and Ecosystems 269318 [Mackie, RIWhite, BA, editor]. New York: Chapman and Hall.
Macfarlane, GT, Gibson, GR, Cummings, JH (1992) Comparison of fermentation reactions in different regions of the human colon. Journal of Applied Bacteriology 72, 5764.
Macfarlane, GT, Gibson, GR, Macfarlane, S (1994) Short chain fatty acid and lactate production by human intestinal bacteria grown in batch and continuous culture. In Short Chain Fatty Acids 4460 [Binder, HJCummings, JHSoergel, KH, editor]. London: Kluwer Publishing.
Macfarlane, S, Macfarlane, GT (1995) Proteolysis and amino acid fermentation. In Human Colonic Bacteria: Role in Nutrition, Physiology and Pathology 75100 [Gibson, GRMacfarlane, GT, editor]. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Macfarlane, S, Quigley, ME, Hopkins, MJ, Newton, DF, Macfarlane, GT (1998) Effect of retention time on polysaccharide degradation by mixed populations of human colonic bacteria studied under multi-substrate limiting conditions in a three-stage compound continuous culture system. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 26, 231243.
Macy, JM, Ljungdahl, LG, Gottschalk, G (1978) Pathway of succinate and propionate formation in Bacteroides fragilis. Journal of Bacteriology 134, 8491.
Salyers, AA (1984) Bacteroides of the human lower intestinal tract. Annual Review in Microbiology 38, 293313.
Salyers, AA, Leedle, JAZ (1983) Carbohydrate utilization in the human colon.In Human Intestinal Microflora in Health and Disease 129146 [Hentges, DJ, editor]. London: Academic Press.

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed