Prebiotic effect of Agave fourcroydes fructans: an animal model

Food Funct. 2015 Sep;6(9):3177-82. doi: 10.1039/c5fo00653h.


The use of prebiotics such as fructans has increased in human and animal nutrition because of their productive performance and health benefits. Agave fourcroydes has shown high concentrations of fructans in their stems; however, there is no information on new products derived from this plant that might enhance its added value. Therefore, we evaluated the prebiotic effect of Agave fourcroydes fructans in an animal model. Male mice (C57BL/6J) were fed on parallel form with a standard diet or diets supplemented with 10% of fructans from Cichorium intybus (Raftilose P95) and Agave fourcroydes from Cuba for 35 days. The body weight, food intake, blood glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol, gastrointestinal organ weights, fermentation indicators in cecal and colon contents and mineral content in femurs were determined. The body weight and food intake of mice were not significantly modified by any treatment. However, serum glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides decreased (P < 0.01) in the fructans groups with respect to the standard diet group; this decrement was higher in the A. fourcroydes group with respect to the Raftilose P95 group. Mice groups supplemented with fructans exhibited increased (P < 0.01) total and wall cecal and colon weights. The fermentation indicators, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and pH decreased (P < 0.001) in the groups that consumed fructans in their diets with respect to the standard diet. The diets supplemented with fructans also increased the mineral concentrations of calcium (P < 0.01) and magnesium (P < 0.05) in the right femurs. In conclusion, the inclusion of fructans from Agave fourcroydes in the mice diet induced a prebiotic response, similar to or greater than the commercial product (Raftilose P95) and this constitutes a promising alternative with potential use not only in animal but also in human diets.

MeSH terms

  • Agave / chemistry*
  • Agave / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight
  • Cecum / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Fructans / chemistry
  • Fructans / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Animal
  • Prebiotics / analysis*
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fructans
  • Prebiotics
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol