Pet food and feed applications of inulin, oligofructose and other oligosaccharides

Br J Nutr. 2002 May:87 Suppl 2:S297-300. doi: 10.1079/BJNBJN/2002552.


Prebiotics may be considered as functional food ingredients. They are attracting considerable interest from pet owners, pet food manufacturers, livestock producers and feed manufacturers. The most common forms of prebiotics are nondigestible oligosaccharides (NDO), including inulin, oligofructose mannanoligosaccharides, gluco-oligosaccharides, and galacto-oligosaccharides. These NDO are nondigestible by enzymes present in the mammalian small intestine, but are fermented by bacteria present in the hindgut of nonruminants. Inulin and oligofructose are present in measurable quantities in feed ingredients like wheat, wheat by-products, barley, and peanut hulls. Consumption of prebiotic oligosaccharides elicits several purported health benefits. In companion animals, prebiotics have been shown to improve gut microbial ecology and enhance stool quality. In production livestock and poultry, prebiotics are employed to control pathogenic bacteria, reduce faecal odour, and enhance growth performance. Research to date indicates positive effects of prebiotics on health status and performance of companion animals, livestock, and poultry.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic*
  • Fructans*
  • Gastroenteritis / prevention & control
  • Gastroenteritis / veterinary
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Inulin
  • Oligosaccharides


  • Fructans
  • Oligosaccharides
  • oligofructose
  • Inulin