Prebiotic and synbiotic effects on rats fed malted barley with selected bacteria strains

  • Yadong Zhong Lund University
  • Margareta Nyman
Keywords: dietary fibre, probiotics, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), amino acids, microbiota


Background: Butyric acid, one of the key products formed when β-glucans are degraded by the microbiota in the colon, has been proposed to be important for colonic health. Glutamine bound to the fibre may have similar effects once it has been liberated from the fibre in the colon. Both β-glucans and glutamine are found in high amounts in malted barley. Lactobacillus rhamnosus together with malt has been shown to increase the formation of butyric acid further in rats.

Objective: To investigate whether Lactobacillus rhamnosus 271, Lactobacillus paracasei 87002, Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9 and 19, and Bifidobacterium infantis CURE 21 affect the levels of short-chain fatty acids and glutamine in caecum and portal blood of rats fed barley malt.

Design: The experimental diets were fed for 12 days. The daily dose of the probiotic strain was 1×109 colony forming units and the intake of fibre 0.82 g/day.

Results: The malt mostly contained insoluble fibre polymers (93%), consisting of glucose and xylose (38–41 g/kg) and some arabinose (21 g/kg). The fibre polysaccharides were quite resistant to fermentation in the rats, regardless of whether or not probiotics were added (25–30% were fermented). Caecal and portal levels of acetic acid decreased in the rats after the addition of L. plantarum HEAL 9 and L. rhamnosus 271, and also the levels of butyric acid. Viable counts of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Enterobacteriaceae were unaffected, while the caecal composition of Lactobacilli was influenced by the type of strain administrated. Portal levels of glutamine were unchanged, but glycine levels increased with L. plantarum HEAL 9 and 19 and phenylalanine with L. rhamnosus 271.

Conclusions: Although the probiotic strains survived and reached the caecum, except B. infantis CURE 21, there were no effects on viable counts or in the fermentation of different fibre components, but the formation of some bacterial metabolites decreased. This may be due to the high proportion of insoluble fibres in the malt.

Keywords: dietary fibre; probiotics; short-chain fatty acids; amino acids; microbiota

(Published: 6 October 2014)

Responsible Editor: Asim Duttaroy, Oslo University, Norway.

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2014, 58: 24848 -



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How to Cite
Zhong, Y., & Nyman, M. (2014). Prebiotic and synbiotic effects on rats fed malted barley with selected bacteria strains. Food & Nutrition Research.
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