Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and xylooligosaccharides (XOS) were employed as substrates for in vitro fermentations to assess their capacity to counteract the effects caused by three antibiotics (ABs) at different doses on the elderly gut microbiota and its metabolic activity. The AB type and dose scarcely affected the total bacterial numbers and the microbiota composition after 24 h. However, in the presence of ABs, the relative percentages of Lactobacillus decreased (from 11.4% to 3.2% in the presence of XOS1), as well as the butyrate production, whereas the population of Bacteroides increased significantly in the presence of XOS1 (from 27.5% to 55.7%). FOS were able to counteract these effects by increasing the butyrate production and the number of Lactobacillus, while maintaining the number of Bacteroides almost constant and decreasing the clostridia. XOS2 (mainly DP = 2-4) also showed ability to increase the percentages of Bifidobacterium and the production of both butyrate and acetate.
Keywords: antibiotics; elderly; fructooligosaccharides; gut microbiota; in vitro fermentation; xylooligosaccharides.