The fermentation of polydextrose in the large intestine and its beneficial effects

Benef Microbes. 2014 Sep;5(3):305-13. doi: 10.3920/BM2013.0065.


Polydextrose is a randomly bonded glucose polymer with a highly branched and complex structure. It resists digestion in the upper gastrointestinal tract and is partially fermented in the large intestine by the colonic microbes. Due to its complex structure, a plethora of microbes is required for the catabolism of polydextrose and this process occurs slowly. This gradual fermentation of polydextrose gives rise to moderate amounts of fermentation products, such as short chain fatty acids and gas. The production of these metabolites continues in the distal part of the colon, which is usually considered to be depleted of saccharolytic fermentation substrates. The fermentation of polydextrose modifies the composition of the microbiota in the colon, and has been shown to impact appetite and satiety in humans and improve the gastrointestinal function. The purpose of this short review is to summarise the in vitro, in vivo and human studies investigating the fermentation properties of polydextrose in the large intestine.

Keywords: colon; fibre; polydextrose; prebiotic; sustained fermentation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Constipation / therapy
  • Digestion
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / biosynthesis
  • Feces
  • Fermentation / physiology*
  • Gases / metabolism
  • Glucans / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Large / metabolism*
  • Intestine, Large / microbiology*
  • Microbiota
  • Prebiotics*


  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Gases
  • Glucans
  • Prebiotics
  • polydextrose