Comparison of digestibility and breath hydrogen gas excretion of fructo-oligosaccharide, galactosyl-sucrose, and isomalto-oligosaccharide in healthy human subjects

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Sep;57(9):1150-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601666.


Objectives: To clarify the difference of digestibility in the small intestine among fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS), galactosyl-sucrose (GS), and isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO) using breath hydrogen test.

Design: The first step: screening test of breath hydrogen excretion and FOS tolerance test to select the subjects. The second step: breath hydrogen test of three kinds of oligosaccharides, carried out using precautionary regulations. The ingestion order was 10 g of FOS, GS, and IMO, with increases, at 1-week interval, up to 20 g, respectively. Breath gas was collected before, at 20 min intervals from 40 to 120 min after, and at 30 min intervals from 120 min to 7 h after ingestion of test substance.

Setting: Laboratory of Public Health Nutrition, Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, Siebold University of Nagasaki, Nagasaki, Japan.

Subjects: A total of nine males (average: age 25.7+/-3.5 y, weight 61.9+/-8.8 kg, height 170.0+/-6.0 cm) and 29 females (average: 23.1+/-7.2 y, 52.9+/-5.3 kg, 157.5+/-5.1 cm) from the University of Tokyo and Siebold University of Nagasaki.

Main outcome measures: Breath hydrogen excretion from end-expiratory gas.

Result: : Breath hydrogen of FOS was more remarkably excreted than that of GS; that of IMO was slight; and that of AUC (10 g) was significantly different. FOS was 9768+/-3253 ppm, GS was 3662+/-2632 ppm, and IMO was 831+/-1154 ppm. A dose dependence was observed at doses between 10 and 20 g of FOS and GS, and the initial time of 20 g was earlier than that of 10 g.

Conclusions: FOS was not hydrolyzed, GS was slightly hydrolyzed, and IMO was readily hydrolyzed by small intestinal enzymes. H(2) gas reflected fermentability in the large intestine.

Sponsorship: Siebold University of Nagasaki.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Breath Tests
  • Digestion / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen / analysis*
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism
  • Isomaltose / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Oligosaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism*
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors
  • Trisaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Trisaccharides / metabolism*


  • Oligosaccharides
  • Trisaccharides
  • fructooligosaccharide
  • Isomaltose
  • Hydrogen
  • galactosucrose