European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 2193–2206 | Cite as

Addition of arabinoxylan and mixed linkage glucans in porcine diets affects the large intestinal bacterial populations

  • John B. Gorham
  • Seungha Kang
  • Barbara A. Williams
  • Lucas J. Grant
  • Christopher S. McSweeney
  • Michael J. Gidley
  • Deirdre MikkelsenEmail author
Original Contribution



To investigate the effects of two cereal soluble dietary fibres (SDF), wheat arabinoxylan (AX) and oat-mixed linkage glucans (MLG), on fermentative end-products and bacterial community profiles of the porcine caecum (Cae) and distal colon (DC). We hypothesised that feeding pigs these SDF would stimulate Cae and DC carbohydrate fermentation, resulting in a modification of the resident bacterial communities.


Five groups of six pigs were each fed one diet based on wheat starch (WS) only, or treatment diets in which some WS was replaced by 10 % AX, or 10 % MLG, a combination of 5 % AX:5 % MLG (AXMLG), or completely replaced with ground whole wheat. Post-euthanasia, Cae and DC digesta were collected for analysis of fermentative end-products, and bacterial community profiles were determined by 16S rRNA gene amplicon 454 pyrosequencing.


Across all the SDF-containing diets, predominantly in the proximal region of the large intestine, Prevotella, Lactobacillus, Mitsuokella and Streptococcus were most significantly influenced (P < 0.05), while notable changes were observed for the Ruminococcaceae and Lachnospiraceae families in the Cae and DC. The addition of MLG or AXMLG had the greatest effect of influencing bacterial profiles, reducing sequence proportions assigned to the genus Clostridium, considered detrimental to gut health, with associated increases in short-chain fatty acid and reduced ammonia concentrations.


This study demonstrated how the cereal SDF AX and MLG altered the large intestinal bacterial community composition, particularly proximally, further giving insights into how diets rich in specific complex carbohydrates shift the bacterial population, by increasing abundance and promoting greater diversity of those bacteria considered beneficial to gut health.


16S rRNA gene Arabinoxylan Mixed linkage glucans Pig model Pyrosequencing Soluble dietary fibre 



This study was supported by a grant from the CSIRO Flagship Collaboration Fund to the High Fibre Grains Cluster via the Food Futures Flagship. John Gorham was awarded a PhD Scholarship from the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence in Plant Cell Walls. The authors acknowledge QASP staff, Dr Dagong Zhang and John McVeigh for animal husbandry; Prof Helen Keates for pig anaesthesia; Dr Walter Gerrits, Barbara Gorham, Anton Plushke, Henri Rochegon and Pauline Vasseur for digesta sampling; and Ian Brock and Brian Burren of the Animal Research Institute at Yeerongpilly for SCFA and NH3 analyses.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All experimental procedures involving pigs were approved by the Animal Ethics Committees of the University of Queensland and CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences (Approval Number CNAFS/179/11/CSIRO).

Supplementary material

394_2016_1263_MOESM1_ESM.tif (33 kb)
Fig. S1 Fig. S.1 Plot of the diet vs SCFA concentrations in the Cae digesta (P values refer to significant differences per SCFA type across the five diets) (TIFF 32 kb)
394_2016_1263_MOESM2_ESM.tif (37 kb)
Fig. S2 Fig. S2 Plot of the diet vs SCFA concentrations in the DC (P values refer to significant differences per SCFA type across the five diets) (TIFF 36 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences (CNAFS), Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI)The University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)Queensland Bioscience PrecinctSt. LuciaAustralia

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