Functional Carbohydrate Polymers: Prebiotics

  • Jun YangEmail author
  • Yixiang Xu


Increasing scientific evidence has identified the correlation among dietary intake, the gut microbiome, and human health. Controlling the microbiome within the human gut through dietary modifications sheds light on novel nutritional strategies and clinical practices in reducing some chronic diseases. The emerging field of prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics is associated with the development of nutritional interventions, gut microbiome with positively impact health outcomes. Although there is strong evidence to demonstrate the complex link between gut microbiota and human health, substantial challenges still remain in delivering effective, stable and cost efficient foods with positive health outcomes, building personalized diets based on the gut microbiome profile, and standardizing clinical practices and establishing regulation. Dietary intervention, as a strong applicator, on microbiota and consequently on physiology and immune system, could play significant role in reducing the risk and progression of some chronic diseases including cancer and obesity. In this chapter, the authors focus on prebiotics as functional carbohydrate polymers, including traditional ones of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOS), fructooligosaccharides (FOS), and galactooligosaccharides (GOS), as well as potential ones of pectin oligosaccharides (POS), xylooligosaccharides (XOS), arabinoxylan oligosaccharides (AXOS), and glucomannan oligosaccharides (GMOS). To better understand the complex interplay of diet, nutrition and the microbiome in food development, as well as the effects of diet on the diversity of human microbiome, the contents of source, chemical structure, processing, physiological functionalities for each prebiotic will be covered.


Functionality Health Plant polysaccharides Production Structure Traditional and emerging prebiotics 





Arabinoxylan oligosaccharides


Dietary fiber


Degree of polymerization



GI tract

Gastrointestinal tract


Glucomannan oligosaccharides




Human milk oligosaccharides


Molecular weight




Prebiotic index


Pectin oligosaccharides




Short-chain fatty acids




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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Measurement SciencePepsiCo R&DPlanoUSA
  2. 2.Agricultural Research StationVirginia State UniversityPetersburgUSA

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