Original Research

Prebiotics: selective substrate for beneficial microflora

M. Viljoen, A. Koorts
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 24, No 1/2 | a163 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v24i1/2.163 | © 2005 M. Viljoen, A. Koorts | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 September 2005 | Published: 22 September 2005

About the author(s)

M. Viljoen, Departement Fisiologie, Skool vir Geneeskunde, Universiteit van Pretoria, South Africa
A. Koorts, Departement Fisiologie, Skool vir Geneeskunde, Universiteit van Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

Prebiotics are food ingredients that are not digested by the host’s digestive enzymes. Prebiotics are fermented in the colon under influence of colon bacteria such as bifidobacteria. It serves as selective substrate for those microflora that benefit the host and simultaneously increases the fermentation capacity of the colon. Oligosaccharides are the best general prebiotics as they stimulate the growth and colonisation of beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria and their metabolites are not toxic. Common examples of prebiotics include fructooligosaccharides (FOS), galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and soybean oligosaccharides. The prebiotic-probiotic-host cell interaction plays a role in the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract, the mucosal immune system, the absorption of minerals and other aspects of the human physiology.


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