Quantification of fructans, galacto-oligosacharides and other short-chain carbohydrates in processed grains and cereals

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2011 Apr;24(2):154-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2010.01139.x. Epub 2011 Feb 21.


Background: Wholegrain grains and cereals contain a wide range of potentially protective factors that are relevant to gastrointestinal health. The prebiotics best studied are fructans [fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin] and galactooligosaccharides (GOS). These and other short-chain carbohydrates can also be poorly absorbed in the small intestine (named fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols; FODMAPs) and may have important implications for the health of the gut.

Methods: In the present study, FODMAPs, including fructose in excess of glucose, FOS (nystose, kestose), GOS (raffinose, stachyose) and sugar polyols (sorbitol, mannitol), were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography with an evaporative light scattering detector. Total fructan was quantified using an enzymic hydrolysis method.

Results: Fifty-five commonly consumed grains, breakfast cereals, breads, pulses and biscuits were analysed. Total fructan were the most common short-chain carbohydrate present in cereal grain products and ranged (g per portion as eaten) from 1.12 g in couscous to 0 g in rice; 0.6 g in dark rye bread to 0.07 g in spelt bread; 0.96 g in wheat-free muesli to 0.11 g in oats; and 0.81 g in muesli fruit bar to 0.05 g in potato chips. Raffinose and stachyose were most common in pulses.

Conclusions: Composition tables including FODMAPs and prebiotics (FOS and GOS) that are naturally present in food will greatly assist research aimed at understanding their physiological role in the gut.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / analysis*
  • Edible Grain / chemistry*
  • Fermentation
  • Food Handling
  • Fructans / analysis*
  • Fructose / analysis
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Monosaccharides / analysis
  • Oligosaccharides / analysis*
  • Poaceae / chemistry*
  • Prebiotics / analysis*
  • Raffinose / analysis
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Sugar Alcohols / analysis


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fructans
  • Monosaccharides
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Prebiotics
  • Sugar Alcohols
  • stachyose
  • Fructose
  • Raffinose