Polydextrose is a randomly linked complex glucose oligomer that is widely used as a sugar replacer, bulking agent, dietary fiber and prebiotic. Polydextrose is poorly utilized by the host and, during gastrointestinal transit, it is slowly degraded by intestinal microbes, although it is not known which parts of the complex molecule are preferred by the microbes. The microbial degradation of polydextrose was assessed by using a simulated model of colonic fermentation. The degradation products and their glycosidic linkages were measured by combined gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, and compared to those of intact polydextrose. Fermentation resulted in an increase in the relative abundance of non-branched molecules with a concomitant decrease in single-branched glucose molecules and a reduced total number of branching points. A detailed analysis showed a preponderance of 1,6 pyranose linkages. The results of this study demonstrate how intestinal microbes selectively degrade polydextrose, and provide an insight into the preferences of gut microbiota in the presence of different glycosidic linkages.
2010 by Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry