Adding mucins to an in vitro batch fermentation model of the large intestine induces changes in microbial population isolated from porcine feces depending on the substrate

FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2016 Feb;92(2):fiv165. doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiv165. Epub 2015 Dec 20.


Adding mucus to in vitro fermentation models of the large intestine shows that some genera, namely lactobacilli, are dependent on host-microbiota interactions and that they rely on mucosal layers to increase their activity. This study investigated whether this dependence on mucus is substrate dependent and to what extent other genera are impacted by the presence of mucus. Inulin and cellulose were fermented in vitro by a fecal inoculum from pig in the presence or not of mucin beads in order to compare fermentation patterns and bacterial communities. Mucins increased final gas production with inulin and shifted short-chain fatty acid molar ratios (P < 0.001). Quantitative real-time PCR analyses revealed that Lactobacillus spp. and Bifidobacterium spp. decreased with mucins, but Bacteroides spp. increased when inulin was fermented. A more in-depth community analysis indicated that the mucins increased Proteobacteria (0.55 vs 0.25%, P = 0.013), Verrucomicrobia (5.25 vs 0.03%, P = 0.032), Ruminococcaceae, Bacteroidaceae and Akkermansia spp. Proteobacteria (5.67 vs 0.55%, P < 0.001) and Lachnospiraceae (33 vs 10.4%) were promoted in the mucus compared with the broth, while Ruminococcaceae decreased. The introduction of mucins affected many microbial genera and fermentation patterns, but from PCA results, the impact of mucus was independent of the fermentation substrate.

Keywords: cellulose; in vitro model; intestinal fermentation; inulin; microbiota; mucins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteroides / growth & development*
  • Bacteroides / metabolism
  • Bifidobacterium / growth & development*
  • Bifidobacterium / metabolism
  • Cellulose / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / biosynthesis
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Fermentation
  • Intestine, Large / metabolism
  • Intestine, Large / microbiology
  • Inulin / metabolism*
  • Lactobacillus / growth & development*
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism
  • Mucins / metabolism*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Swine


  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Mucins
  • Cellulose
  • Inulin