The prebiotic effect of oligosaccharides recovered and purified from caprine whey, was evaluated by in vitro fermentation under anaerobic conditions using batch cultures at 37ºC with human faeces. Effects on key gut bacterial groups were monitored over 24h by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH), which was used to determine a quantitative prebiotic index score. Production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) as fermentation end products was analysed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Growth of Bifidobacterium spp was significantly higher (p ≥ 0.05) with the purified oligosaccharides compared to the negative control. Lactic and propionic acids were the main SCFAs produced. Antimicrobial activity of the oligosaccharides was also tested, revealing no inhibition though a decrease in Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli growth. These findings indicate that naturally extracted oligosaccharides from caprine whey could be used as new and valuable source of prebiotics
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