Starch fermentation by faecal bacteria of infants, toddlers and adults: importance for energy salvage

Christian, M.T., Edwards, C.A., Preston, T., Johnston, L., Varley, R. and Weaver, L.T. (2003) Starch fermentation by faecal bacteria of infants, toddlers and adults: importance for energy salvage. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57(11), pp. 1486-1491. (doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601715)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601715

Abstract

Objective: Little is known of the degree to which the colon salvages energy through starch fermentation in young children. Using a simulated colonic environment, we aimed to account for the fate of fermented raw and cooked starch in two groups of young children and in adults. Design: A slurry was prepared from faecal samples from six infants ( 7 - 10 months), six toddlers ( 16 - 21 months) and seven adults ( 24 - 56 y). Each slurry was anaerobically incubated with raw or cooked maize starch in MacCartney bottles in a shaking water bath. Parallel incubations were stopped at 4 and 24 h. The headspace gas volume was analysed for CO2 and methane. The culture supernatant was analysed for short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), lactate and residual starch. Results: Different patterns of fermentation were seen at 4 and 24 h. For raw starch, the production of SCFA decreased with subject age at 4 h but not at 24 h. With both substrates at 4 h, toddler stools produced significantly more CO2 than infants or adults, but there were no statistical differences at 24 h. Methane was detected in three adults only. Lactate was detected mainly at 4 h in children. Conclusions: The results suggest that fermentation, particularly of raw starch, is a more rapid process in young children than in adults. A highly efficient energy salvage process may occur in the colon of young children.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Preston, Professor Thomas
Authors: Christian, M.T., Edwards, C.A., Preston, T., Johnston, L., Varley, R., and Weaver, L.T.
Subjects:R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Q Science > QP Physiology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
ISSN:0954-3007

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