Dietary Fiber pp 317-337 | Cite as

Short-Chain Fatty Acids

Production, Absorption, Metabolism, and Intestinal Effects


The short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), also called the volatile fatty acids (VFA), are the C1–6 organic fatty acids. These are formed in the gastrointestinal tract of mammals by microbial fermentation of carbohydrates (Wolin, 1981 ; Wrong, 1981 ; Cummings and Branch, 1986). Acetate, propionate and butyrate account for 83% of SCFA so formed (Nyman and Aso, 1982; Demigné and Remesy, 1985) and are produced in a nearly constant molar ratio 60: 25 : 15, respectively (Cummings and Branch, 1986). Among their various properties, SCFA are readily absorbed by intestinal mucosa (Cummings et al., 1987), are relatively high in caloric content (Yang et al., 1970), are readily metabolized by intestinal epithelium and liver (Cummings, 1981), stimulate sodium and water absorption in the colon (Roediger and Rae, 1982), and are trophic to intestinal mucosa (Sakata, 1987; Kripke et al., 1988d).


Dietary Fiber Volatile Fatty Acid Short Chain Fatty Acid Resistant Starch Short Bowel Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgery and OtorhinolaryngologyUniversity of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and Medical Research Service, Veterans Administration Medical CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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