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Carbohydrate preferences of Bifidobacterium species isolated from the human gut

By R. Palframan, G.R. Gibson and R.A. Rastall


The growth of nine species of Bifidobacterium on media containing glucose, xylose, xylooligosaccharides (XOS), xylan or fructooligosaccharides (FOS) as the sole carbon source were compared in pure culture. The bifidobacteria differed in fermentation profiles when tested on different carbohydrates. All species grew to their highest final optical density (OD) on a glucose containing medium, with the exception of B. catenulatum which demonstrated a preference for xylose over glucose, and XOS over FOS. B. bifidum grew to the highest OD on XOS compared to xylose suggesting a specific transport system for the oligosaccharide over the monomer. This is consistent with a lack of β-xylosidase activity present in the culture medium. Lactate, formate and acetate levels were determined and the ratios of these metabolites altered between and within species growing on different carbohydrates. In general, high lactate production correlated with low formate production and low lactate concentrations were obtained at higher levels of formate. Bifidobacteria may alter their metabolic pathways based upon the carbohydrates that are available for their use

Year: 2003
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