Continuously Ingesting Fructooligosaccharide Can't Maintain Rats' Gut Bifidobacterium at a High Level

J Food Sci. 2015 Nov;80(11):M2530-4. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13086. Epub 2015 Oct 7.


Fructooligosaccharide (FOS) has been reported to increase Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium populations in animal and human gut. Hence, it has been utilized to regulate the balance of gut microbiota. In this study, we compared the effects of high-FOS (HFOS) diet on normal and obese rats' gut Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, with high-soybean-fibers (HSF) diet as control. The results showed that the level of Bifidobacterium population substantially increased at week 4 in groups of rats fed the HFOS diet (P < 0.05), but significantly reduced to a small level at week 8 (P < 0.05); the abundance of Lactobacillus was increased in normal rats (P < 0.05), but decreased in obese rats (P < 0.05). The HSF diet did not promote the growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in rats' gut. The findings suggested that Bifidobacterium population could not be maintained at a high level when the rats continuously ingested the HFOS diet for 8 wk; additionally, Lactobacillus population could adapt to a relatively stable level with the consumption of HFOS diet.

Practical application: Fructooligosaccharide (FOS) is one of the most popular prebiotics, and it is widely used in infant formulas, which is aiming to increase the growth of probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. This study discovered new growth rhythm of Bifidobacterium based on a high-FOS diet. The growth of Bifidobacterium was first promoted but receded in the end. This finding is highly instructive and meaningful for the application of fructooligosaccharide in probiotic or prebiotic food.

Keywords: Bifidobacterium; Lactobacillus; dietary fiber; obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bifidobacterium / drug effects*
  • Bifidobacterium / growth & development
  • Diet*
  • Fructose
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus / drug effects
  • Lactobacillus / growth & development
  • Male
  • Obesity / microbiology*
  • Oligosaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Prebiotics*
  • Probiotics*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Oligosaccharides
  • Prebiotics
  • fructooligosaccharide
  • Fructose