Comparative effects of three resistant starch preparations on transit time and short-chain fatty acid production in rats

Nutr Cancer. 2000;36(2):230-7. doi: 10.1207/S15327914NC3602_13.


A high-fiber diet may protect against colon cancer because of the butyrate generated in the colon by bacterial fermentation of nonstarch polysaccharides. Butryrate can reverse neoplastic changes, at least in vitro, and resistant starch (RS) represents a source of butyrate in vivo. We examined the effects of replacing normal maize starch in the diet of rats with three preparations of RS on the amounts of starch, butyrate, and other short-chain fatty acids in the cecum. We examined the effects on fecal bulking and transit time, which have been suggested to protect against colon cancer. The RS preparations that we tested were potato starch, high-amylose maize starch, and an alpha-amylase-treated high-amylose maize starch. All had major effects on fecal weight and on the weight of the cecum but only slightly shortened transit times. All increased the amount of starch reaching the cecum and increased short-chain fatty acid production in the cecum; potato starch had the greatest effect and high-amylose maize starch the least. Potato starch, unlike high-amylose maize starch, enhanced the proportion of butyrate. Thus there were marked differences among sources of RS, even though these were all classified as RS2. The significance for colon cancer is discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Butyrates
  • Cecum / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / biosynthesis*
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Fermentation
  • Gastrointestinal Transit*
  • Male
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Starch / analysis
  • Starch / classification
  • Starch / metabolism*


  • Butyrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Starch