Variations in prebiotic oligosaccharide fermentation by intestinal lactic acid bacteria

Prebiotic oligosaccharides confer health benefits on the host by modulating the gut microbiota. Intestinal lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are potential targets of prebiotics; however, the metabolism of oligosaccharides by LAB has not been fully characterized. Here, we studied the metabolism of eight oligosaccharides by 19 strains of intestinal LAB. Among the eight oligosaccharides used, 1-kestose, lactosucrose and galactooligosaccharides (GOSs) led to the greatest increases in the numbers of the strains tested. However, mono- and disaccharides accounted for more than half of the GOSs used, and several strains only metabolized the mono- and di-saccharides in GOSs. End product profiles indicated that the amounts of lactate produced were generally consistent with the bacterial growth recorded. Oligosaccharide profiling revealed the interesting metabolic manner in Lactobacillus paracasei strains, which metabolized all oligosaccharides, but left sucrose when cultured with fructooligosaccharides. The present study clearly indicated that the prebiotic potential of each oligosaccharide differs.