Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 97, Issue 13, pp 5743–5752 | Cite as

Analysis of fermentation selectivity of purified galacto-oligosaccharides by in vitro human faecal fermentation

  • Barbara Rodriguez-Colinas
  • Sofia Kolida
  • Magdalena Baran
  • Antonio O. Ballesteros
  • Robert A. Rastall
  • Francisco J. PlouEmail author
Biotechnological products and process engineering


The in vitro fermentation of several purified galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), specifically the trisaccharides 4′-galactosyl-lactose and 6′-galactosyl-lactose and a mixture of the disaccharides 6-galactobiose and allolactose, was carried out. The bifidogenic effect of GOS at 1 % (w/v) was studied in a pH-controlled batch culture fermentation system inoculated with healthy adult human faeces. Results were compared with those obtained with a commercial GOS mixture (Bimuno-GOS). Changes in bacterial populations measured through fluorescence in situ hybridization and short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production were determined. Bifidobacteria increased after 10-h fermentation for all the GOS substrates, but the changes were only statistically significant (P < 0.05) for the mixture of disaccharides and Bimuno-GOS. Acetic acid, whose formation is consistent with bifidobacteria metabolism, was the major SCFA synthesized. The acetate concentration at 10 h was similar with all the substrates (45–50 mM) and significantly higher than the observed for formic, propionic and butyric acids. All the purified GOS could be considered bifidogenic under the assayed conditions, displaying a selectivity index in the range 2.1–3.0, which was slightly lower than the determined for the commercial mixture Bimuno-GOS.


Batch culture system Galacto-oligosaccharides Prebiotics Transglycosylation β-Galactosidase FISH Short-chain fatty acids 



We thank Ramiro Martínez (Novozymes A/S, Madrid, Spain) for supplying Lactozym and for useful suggestions. Project BIO2010-20508-C04-01 from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation supported this research. B.R.C. was supported by an FPI fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Rodriguez-Colinas
    • 1
  • Sofia Kolida
    • 2
  • Magdalena Baran
    • 2
  • Antonio O. Ballesteros
    • 1
  • Robert A. Rastall
    • 2
  • Francisco J. Plou
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Instituto de Catalisis y PetroleoquimicaCSICMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Food and Nutritional SciencesUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  3. 3.Departamento de Biocatálisis, Instituto de Catálisis y PetroleoquímicaCSICMadridSpain

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