In vitro evaluation of the microbiota modulation abilities of different sized whole oat grain flakes.
Connolly, M. L., Lovegrove, J. A. and Tuohy, K. M. (2010) In vitro evaluation of the microbiota modulation abilities of different sized whole oat grain flakes. Anaerobe., 16 (5). pp. 483-488. ISSN 1075-9964
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2010.07.001
Epidemiological studies and healthy eating guidelines suggest a positive correlation between ingestion of whole grain cereal and food rich in fibre with protection from chronic diseases. The prebiotic potential of whole grains may be related, however, little is known about the microbiota modulatory capability of oat grain or the impact processing has on this ability. In this study the fermentation profile of whole grain oat flakes, processed to produce two different sized flakes (small and large), by human faecal microbiota was investigated in vitro. Simulated digestion and subsequent fermentation by gut bacteria was investigated using pH controlled faecal batch cultures inoculated with human faecal slurry. The different sized oat flakes, Oat 23’s (0.53–0.63 mm) and Oat 25’s/26’s (0.85–1.0 mm) were compared to oligofructose, a confirmed prebiotic, and cellulose, a poorly fermented carbohydrate. Bacterial enumeration was carried out using the culture independent technique, fluorescent in situ hybridisation, and short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production monitored by gas chromatography. Significant changes in total bacterial populations were observed after 24 h incubation for all substrates except Oat 23’s and cellulose. Oats 23’s fermentation resulted in a significant increase in the Bacteroides–Prevotella group. Oligofructose and Oats 25’s/26’s produced significant increases in Bifidobacterium in the latter stages of fermentation while numbers declined for Oats 23’s between 5 h and 24 h. This is possibly due to the smaller surface area of the larger flakes inhibiting the simulated digestion, which may have resulted in increased levels of resistant starch (Bifidobacterium are known to ferment this dietary fibre). Fermentation of Oat 25’s/26’s resulted in a propionate rich SCFA profile and a significant increase in butyrate, which have both been linked to benefiting host health. The smaller sized oats did not produce a significant increase in butyrate concentration. This study shows for the first time the impact of oat grain on the microbial ecology of the human gut and its potential to beneficially modulate the gut microbiota through increasing Bifidobacterium population.