Curdlan and gellan gum, bacterial gel-forming polysaccharides, exhibit different effects on lipid metabolism, cecal fermentation and fecal bile acid excretion in rats

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1999 Jun;45(3):251-62. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.45.251.


The effects of curdlan (CD) and gellan gum (GG), bacteria-producing polysaccharides, on lipid concentrations of serum and liver, fecal bile acid composition and intestinal fermentation products were studied in rats fed diets containing cellulose powder (CP), CD or GG at 5% for 4 wk. The cecal weight of the CD group increased significantly as compared to that of the other two groups and the pH of its contents was significantly low. The gastrointestinal transit time in the GG group was significantly shorter than that in the CP and CD groups. No significant inter-group differences were observed in the serum concentrations of total cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol, but a significant decrease was observed in the hepatic total cholesterol concentration of the CD group as compared to that of the CP and GG groups. No significant difference in the total bile acid excretion in feces was observed among the groups, but significantly low values were observed in the proportion of secondary bile acids in the CD group as compared to those of the CP and GG groups. Amounts of short-chain fatty acids (acetic, propionic and butyric acid) and lactic acid in the cecal contents were significantly higher in the CD group than in the other two groups. These results reveal that dietary CD is easily degraded and fermented by intestinal bacteria in the cecum and lowers cholesterol concentration in the liver, while dietary GG shortens the gastrointestinal transit time, suggesting the promotion of evacuation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism*
  • Cecum / drug effects
  • Cecum / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Diet
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Fermentation / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / drug effects
  • Glucans / administration & dosage
  • Glucans / pharmacology*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / administration & dosage
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • beta-Glucans*


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Glucans
  • Lipids
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • beta-Glucans
  • curdlan
  • gellan gum
  • Cholesterol