Lactate- and acetate-based cross-feeding interactions between selected strains of lactobacilli, bifidobacteria and colon bacteria in the presence of inulin-type fructans

Int J Food Microbiol. 2017 Jan 16:241:225-236. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2016.10.019. Epub 2016 Oct 17.


Cross-feeding interactions were studied between selected strains of lactobacilli and/or bifidobacteria and butyrate-producing colon bacteria that consume lactate but are not able to degrade inulin-type fructans (ITF) in a medium for colon bacteria (supplemented with ITF as energy source and acetate when necessary). Degradation of oligofructose by Lactobacillus acidophilus IBB 801 and inulin by Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2 and Bifidobacterium longum LMG 11047 resulted in the release of free fructose into the medium and the production of mainly lactate (lactobacilli) and acetate (B. longum LMG 11047). During bicultures of Lb. acidophilus IBB 801 and Anaerostipes caccae DSM 14662T on oligofructose, the latter strain converted lactate (produced by the former strain from oligofructose) into butyrate and gases, but only in the presence of acetate. During bicultures of Lb. paracasei 8700:2 and A. caccae DSM 14662T or Eubacterium hallii DSM 17630 on inulin, the butyrate-producing strains consumed low concentrations of lactate and acetate generated by inulin degradation by the Lactobacillus strain. As more acetate was produced during tricultures of Lb. paracasei 8700:2 and B. longum LMG 11047, which degraded inulin simultaneously, and A. caccae DSM 14662T or E. hallii DSM 17630, a complete conversion of lactate into butyrate and gases by these butyrate-producing strains occurred. Therefore, butyrate production by lactate-consuming, butyrate-producing colon bacterial strains incapable of ITF degradation, resulted from cross-feeding of monosaccharides and lactate by an ITF-degrading Lactobacillus strain and acetate produced by a Bifidobacterium strain.

Keywords: Bifidobacteria; Cross-feeding; Inulin-type fructans; Lactobacilli.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / metabolism*
  • Bifidobacterium / metabolism*
  • Butyric Acid / metabolism
  • Colon / microbiology*
  • Fermentation
  • Fructose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inulin / metabolism*
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism*
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism*
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism


  • Acetates
  • Oligosaccharides
  • oligofructose
  • Butyric Acid
  • Fructose
  • Lactic Acid
  • Inulin