Partially hydrolysed guar gum (PHGG) is a water-soluble dietary fibre that is non-digestible in the upper gastrointestinal tract. It is believed that PHGG benefits the health of hosts by altering the colonic microbiota and stimulating short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. However, it remains unclear which bacteria ferment PHGG in the human large intestine. In this study, the effect of PHGG on faecal bacteria was analysed to specify the bacteria that contribute to the fermentation of PHGG in the human large intestine. Ten healthy volunteers consumed PHGG (6 g/day) for 2 weeks. Faeces were collected at 2 weeks prior to consumption, at the end of 2 weeks of consumption, and 2 weeks after consumption of PHGG. Bacterial DNA was extracted from these collected faeces and subjected to real-time PCR using bacterial group- or species-specific primers. The copy number of the butyryl-CoA CoA-transferase gene and the 16S rRNA gene copy numbers of Bifidobacterium, the Clostridium coccoides group, the Roseburia/ Eubacterium rectale group, Eubacterium hallii, and butyrate-producing bacterium strain SS2/1 were significantly increased by the intake of PHGG. Other bacteria and bacterial groups were not significantly influenced by the intake of PHGG. It was believed that the Roseburia/E. rectale group bacteria, Bifidobacterium, the lactate-utilising, butyrate-producing bacteria, E. hallii and bacterium strain SS2/1, would contribute to the fermentation of PHGG in the human large intestine. PHGG may benefit health by stimulating Bifidobacterium and butyrate-producing bacteria in the human large intestine.
Keywords: prebiotics; short-chain fatty acid; water-soluble dietary fibre.