It is well established that inulin-type fructans, such as oligofructose derived from chicory root, improve gastrointestinal health via fermentation and proliferation of desirable bacteria in the large bowel. However, differences in fructan structure may contribute significantly to different fermentation and subsequent metabolic effects. Here we ascertain the chain length of two novel cereal fructans (graminan) isolated from wheat stem and barley grain, and investigate their fermentation capacity in vitro, in comparison to inulin and oligofructose. Fractions, representing three predominant fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) size ranges from each source, were fermented and short chain fatty acids (SCFA) production was measured after 24 h of batch culture. Graminan FOS when fermented produced similar levels of total SCFA as oligofructose and inulin. The fermentation of high DP FOS fractions of barley grain and wheat stem (DP 5-15) produced more propionate than oligofructose. Graminan fructans may provide a useful alternative source of oligofructose with potential additional health benefits.
- Cereal grain
- Short chain fatty acids