Research Article: The influence of in vitro pectin fermentation on the human fecal microbiome

Date Published: June 16, 2018

Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg

Author(s): So-Jung Bang, Gayoung Kim, Mi Young Lim, Eun-Ji Song, Dong-Hyun Jung, Jun-Seok Kum, Young-Do Nam, Cheon-Seok Park, Dong-Ho Seo.


Pectin is a complex dietary fiber and a prebiotic. To investigate pectin-induced changes in the gut microbiome and their effects on the short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) production, we performed in vitro pectin fermentation using the feces of three Korean donors. The pectin degradations in all three donors were observed. While the donors displayed differences in baseline gut microbiota composition, commonly increased bacteria after pectin fermentation included Lachnospira, Dorea, Clostridium, and Sutterella. Regarding SCFAs, acetate levels rapidly increased with incubation with pectin, and butyrate levels also increased after 6 h of incubation. The results suggest that pectin fermentation increases bacterial species belonging to Clostridium cluster XIV (Lachnospira, Dorea, and Clostridium), with Lachnospira displaying the greatest increase. The results also confirm that pectin fermentation leads to the production of acetate and butyrate.

Partial Text

Recent studies have demonstrated that the gut microbiota plays important roles in human health, and are associated with diseases. The pathogenic mechanisms of various diseases and disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (Hyland et al. 2014), Crohn’s disease (Gevers et al. 2014), and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis/non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (Icaza-Chávez 2013; Sánchez et al. 2017) are associated with the composition and diversity of the gut microbiota (Laparra and Sanz 2010). The constitution of the gut microbiota can be influenced by endogenous and environmental factors, such as one’s dietary, antibiotic, xenobiotic, and probiotic intakes (Falony et al. 2016).

The contributions of the gut microbiome to health and nutrition depend on its composition, which is affected by different factors, including lifestyle and diet (Conlon and Bird 2014). Gut microbiota composition can be changed by including indigestible carbohydrates (prebiotics) in one’s diet (Flint et al. 2012). Pectin is a prebiotic dietary fiber that affects the gut microbiota (Woods and Gorbach 2001). In this study, we investigated the utilization of pectin by the gut microbiota and analyzed microbiota composition changes with in vitro pectin fermentation through metagenomics analysis.




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