Skip to main content Accessibility help

Effect of polydextrose on intestinal microbes and immune functions in pigs

  • Francesca Fava (a1), Harri Mäkivuokko (a2), Hilkka Siljander-Rasi (a3), Heli Putaala (a2), Kirsti Tiihonen (a2), Julian Stowell (a4), Kieran Tuohy (a1), Glenn Gibson (a1) and Nina Rautonen (a2)...


Dietary fibre has been proposed to decrease risk for colon cancer by altering the composition of intestinal microbes or their activity. In the present study, the changes in intestinal microbiota and its activity, and immunological characteristics, such as cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 gene expression in mucosa, in pigs fed with a high-energy-density diet, with and without supplementation of a soluble fibre (polydextrose; PDX) (30 g/d) were assessed in different intestinal compartments. PDX was gradually fermented throughout the intestine, and was still present in the distal colon. Irrespective of the diet throughout the intestine, of the four microbial groups determined by fluorescent in situ hybridisation, lactobacilli were found to be dominating, followed by clostridia and Bacteroides. Bifidobacteria represented a minority of the total intestinal microbiota. The numbers of bacteria increased approximately ten-fold from the distal small intestine to the distal colon. Concomitantly, also concentrations of SCFA and biogenic amines increased in the large intestine. In contrast, concentrations of luminal IgA decreased distally but the expression of mucosal COX-2 had a tendency to increase in the mucosa towards the distal colon. Addition of PDX to the diet significantly changed the fermentation endproducts, especially in the distal colon, whereas effects on bacterial composition were rather minor. There was a reduction in concentrations of SCFA and tryptamine, and an increase in concentrations of spermidine in the colon upon PDX supplementation. Furthermore, PDX tended to decrease the expression of mucosal COX-2, therefore possibly reducing the risk of developing colon cancer-promoting conditions in the distal intestine.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Effect of polydextrose on intestinal microbes and immune functions in pigs
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Effect of polydextrose on intestinal microbes and immune functions in pigs
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Effect of polydextrose on intestinal microbes and immune functions in pigs
      Available formats


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dr Nina Rautonen, fax +358-9-2982203, email


Hide All
Adami, A & Cavazzoni, V (1999) Occurrence of selected bacterial groups in the faeces of piglets fed with Bacillus coagulans as probiotic. J Basic Microbiol 39, 39.
Ames, JM, Wynne, A, Holfmann, A, Plos, S & Gibson, GR (1999) The effect of a model melanoidin mixture on faecal bacterial populations in vitro. Br J Nutr 82, 489495.
Anonymous (1971) Determination of crude oils and fats. O J Eur Comm Legis 297, 995997.
Apajalahti, JH, Kettunen, H, Kettunen, A, Holben, WE, Nurminen, PH, Rautonen, N & Mutanen, M (2002) Culture-independent microbial community analysis reveals that inulin in the diet primarily affects previously unknown bacteria in the mouse cecum. Appl Environ Microbiol 68, 49864995.
Apajalahti, JH, Sarkilahti, LK, Maki, BR, Heikkinen, JP, Nurminen, PH & Holben, WE (1998) Effective recovery of bacterial DNA and percent-guanine-plus-cytosine-based analysis of community structure in the gastrointestinal tract of broiler chickens. Appl Environ Microbiol 64, 40844088.
Apajalahti, JHA, Kettunen, A, Bedford, MR & Holben, WE (2001) Percent G+C profiling accurately reveals diet-related differences in the gastrointestinal microbial community of broiler chickens. Appl Environ Microbiol 67, 56565667.
Arbabi, S, Rosengart, MR, Garcia, I, Jelacic, S & Maier, RV (2001) Epithelial cyclooxygenase-2 expression: a model for pathogenesis of colon cancer. J Surg Res 97, 6064.
Barnes, EA (1986) Anaerobic bacteria of the normal intestinal microflora of animals. In Anaerobic Bacteria in Habitats other than Man. Society of Applied Bacteriology Symposium Series no. 13, pp. 225238 [Barnes, EM and Mead, GC, editors]. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications.
Berg, RD (1996) The indigenous gastrointestinal microflora. Trends Microbiol 4, 430435.
Bingham, S (2006) The fibre–folate debate in colo-rectal cancer. Proc Nutr Soc 65, 1923.
Cummings, JH & Macfarlane, GT (1991) The control and consequences of bacterial fermentation in the human colon. J Appl Bacteriol 70, 443459.
Craig, SA, Holden, JF & Khaled, MY (2000) Determination of polydextrose as dietary fiber in foods. J AOAC Int 83, 10061012.
Delzenne, NM & Williams, CM (2002) Prebiotics and lipid metabolism. Curr Opin Lipidol 13, 6167.
Ewing, WN & Cole, DJA (1994) The gastrointestinal tract. In The Living Gut. An Introduction to Micro-organisms in Nutrition, pp. 928 [Ewing, WN and Cole, DJA, editors]. Tyrone, UK: Dungannon, Co. Context Publications.
Franklin, MA, Mathew, AG, Vickers, JR & Clift, RA (2002) Characterization of microbial populations and volatile fatty acid concentrations in the jejunum, ileum, and cecum of pigs weaned at 17 vs 24 days of age. J Anim Sci 80, 29042910.
Franks, AH, Harmsen, HJM, Raangs, GC, Jansen, GJ, Schut, F & Welling, GW (1998) Variations of bacterial populations in human faeces measured by fluorescent in situ hybridization with group-specific 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes. Appl Environ Microbiol 64, 33363345.
Freire, JPB, Dias, RIM, Cunha, LF & Aumaitre, A (2003) The effect of genotype and dietary level on the caecal bacterial enzyme activity of young piglets: digestive consequences. Anim Feed Sci Tech 106, 119130.
Gabert, VM, Sauer, WC, Mosenthin, R, Schmitz, M & Ahrens, F (1995) The effect of oligosaccharides and lactitol on the ileal digestibility of amino acids, monosaccharides and bacterial populations and metabolites in the small intestine of weanling pigs. Can J Anim Sci 75, 99107.
Gibson, GR & Roberfroid, MB (1995) Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: introducing the concept of prebiotics. J Nutr 125, 14011412.
Guarner, F & Malagelada, J-R (2003) Gut flora in health and disease. Lancet 360, 512519.
Harmsen, HJM, Elfferich, P, Schut, F & Welling, GW (1999) A 16S rRNA-targeted probe for detection of lactobacilli and enterococci in faecal samples by fluorescent in situ hybridisation. Microb Ecol Health Dis 14, 165173.
Heby, O (1981) Role of polyamines in the control of cell proliferation and differentiation. Differentiation 19, 120.
Holben, WE, Sarkilahti, LK, Williams, P, Saarinen, M & Apajalahti, JHA (2002) Phylogenetic analysis of intestinal microflora indicates a novel Mycoplasma phylotype in farmed and wild salmon. Microb Ecol 44, 175185.
Ishizuka, S, Nagai, T & Hara, H (2003) Reduction of aberrant crypt foci by ingestion of polydextrose in the rat colorectum. Nutr Res 23, 117122.
Jensen, BB & Jorgensen, H (1994) Effect of dietary fiber on microbial activity and microbial gas production in various regions of the gastrointestinal tract of pigs. Appl Environ Microbiol 60, 18971904.
Jie, Z, Bang-Yao, L, Ming-Jie, X, Hai-Wei, L, Zu-Kang, Z, Ting-Song, W & Craig, S (2000) Studies on the effects of polydextrose intake on physiologic functions in Chinese people. Am J Clin Nutr 72, 15031509.
Krause, WF & DuBois, RN (2001) The molecular basis for prevention of colorectal cancer. Clin Colorectal Cancer 1, 4754.
Langendijk, PS, Schut, F, Jansen, GJ, Raangs, GW, Kamphuis, GR, Wilkinson, MHF & Welling, GW (1995) Quantitative fluorescent in situ hybridization of Bifidobacterium spp. with genus-specific 16S rRNA-targeted probes and its application in faecal samples. Appl Environ Microbiol 61, 30693075.
Mäkeläinen, HS, Mäkivuokko, HA, Salminen, SJ, Rautonen, NE & Ouwehand, AC (In the Press) The effects of polydextrose and xylitol on microbial community and activity in a four-stage colon simulator. J Food Sci.
Mäkivuokko, H, Nurmi, J, Nurminen, P, Stowell, J & Rautonen, N (2005) In vitro effects on polydextrose by colonic bacteria and Caco-2 cell cyclooxygenase gene expression. Nutr Cancer 52, 94104.
Manz, W, Amann, R, Ludwig, W, Vancanneyt, M & Schleifer, KH (1996) Application of a suite of 16S rRNA-specific oligonucleotide probes designed to investigate bacteria of the phylum cytophaga-flavobacter-bacteroides in the natural environment. Microbiology 142, 10971106.
Mathew, AG, Chattin, SE, Robbins, CM & Golden, DA (1998) Effects of a direct-fed culture on enteric microbial populations, fermentation acids and performance of weanling pigs. J Anim Sci 76, 21382145.
Mazmanian, SK, Liu, CH, Tzianabos, AO & Kasper, DL (2005) An immunomodulatory molecule of symbiotic bacteria directs maturation of the host immune system. Cell 122, 107118.
Mikkelsen, LL, Jakobsen, M & Jensen, BB (2003) Effects of dietary oligosaccharides on microbial diversity and fructo-oligosaccharide degrading bacteria in faeces of piglets postweaning. Anim Feed Sci Tech 109, 133150.
Miller, ER & Ullrey, DE (1987) The pig as a model for human nutrition. Ann Rev Nutr 7, 361382.
Miller, SJ (2004) Cellular and physiological effects of short-chain fatty acids. Mini Rev Med Chem 4, 839845.
Moughan, PJ, Cranwell, PD, Darragh, AJ & Rowan, AM (1994) The domestic pig as a model animal for studying digestion in humans. In Proceedings of the VIth International Symposium of Digestive Physiology in Pigs, vol. II, EAAP Publication no. 80. pp. 389396 [Huisman, J, den Hartog, LA and Verstegen, MWA, editors]. Wageningen, The Netherlands: EAAP Publications.
Mountzouris, KC, Balaskas, C, Fava, F, Tuohy, KM, Gibson, GR & Fegeros, K (2006) Profiling of composition and metabolic activities of the colonic microflora of growing pigs fed diets supplemented with prebiotic oligosaccharides. Anaerobe 12, 178–85..
Mueller, S, Saunier, K, Hanisch, C, et al. (2006) Differences in fecal microbiota in different European study populations in relation to age, gender, and country: a cross-sectional study. Appl Environ Microb 72, 1027–1033..
Muller-Decker, K, Reinerth, G, Krieg, P, Zimmermann, R, Heise, H, Bayerl, C, Marks, F & Furstenberger, G (1999) Prostaglandin-H-synthase isozyme expression in normal and neoplastic human skin. Int J Cancer 82, 648656.
Nurmi, JT, Puolakkainen, PA & Rautonen, NE (2005) Bifidobacterium lactis sp. 420 up-regulates cyclooxygenase (Cox)-1 and down-regulates Cox-2 gene expression in a Caco-2 cell culture model. Nutr Cancer 51, 8392.
Perrin, P, Pierre, F, Patry, Y, Champ, M, Berreur, M, Pradal, G, Bornet, F, Meflah, K & Menanteau, J (2001) Only fibers promoting a stable butyrate producing colonic ecosystem decrease the rate of aberrant crypt foci in rats. Gut 48, 5361.
Peuranen, S, Tiihonen, K, Apajalahti, J, Kettunen, A, Saarinen, M & Rautonen, N (2004) Combination of polydextrose and lactitol affects microbial ecosystem and immune responses in rat gastrointestinal tract. Br J Nutr 91, 905914.
Prescott, SM & Fitzpatrick, FA (2000) Cyclooxygenase-2 and carcinogenesis. Biochim Biophys Acta 1470, M69M78.
Probert, HM, Apajalahti, J, Rautonen, N, Stowell, J & Gibson, GR (2004) Polydextrose, lactitol, and fructo-oligosaccharide fermentation by colonic bacteria in a three-stage continuous culture system. Appl Environ Microbiol 70, 45054511.
Rastas, M, Seppänen, S, Knuts, L-R, Karvetti, R-L & Varo, P (1993) Nutrient Composition of Foods. Helsinki: Publications of the Social Insurance Institution.
Roberfroid, M (1993) Dietary fiber, inulin, and oligofructose: a review comparing their physiological effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 33, 103148.
Saarinen, MT (2002) Determination of biogenic amines as dansyl derivatives in intestinal digesta and feces by reversed phase HPLC. Chromatographia 55, 297300.
Salminen, S, Bouley, C, Boutron-Ruault, MC, Cummings, JH, Franck, A, Gibson, GR, Isolauri, E, Moreau, MC, Roberfroid, M & Rowland, I (1998) Functional food science and gastrointestinal physiology and function. Br J Nutr 80, Suppl. 1, S147S171.
Savage, DC (1977) Microbial ecology of the gastrointestinal tract. Annu Rev Microbiol 31, 107133.
Sghir, A, Antonopoulos, D & Mackie, RI (1998) Design and evaluation of a Lactobacillus group-specific ribosomal RNA-targeted hybridization probe and its application to the study of intestinal microecology in pigs. Syst Appl Microbiol 21, 291296.
Sghir, A, Gramet, G, Suau, A, Rochet, V, Pochart, P & Dore, J (2000) Quantification of bacterial groups within human fecal flora by oligonucleotide probe hybridization. Appl Environ Microbiol 66, 22632266.
Smiricky-Tjardes, MR, Flickinger, EA, Grieshop, CM, Bauer, LL, Murphy, MR & Fahey, GC Jr (2003) In vitro fermentation characteristics of selected oligosaccharides by swine fecal microflora. J Anim Sci 81, 25052514.
Smith, EA & Macfarlane, GT (1997) Formation of phenolic and indolic compounds by anaerobic bacteria in the human large intestine. Microb Ecol 33, 180188.
Tannock, GW (2001) Molecular assessment of intestinal microflora. Am Soc Clinic Nutr 73, 410S414S.
Tuori, M, Kaustell, K, Valaja, J, Aimonen, E, Saarisalo, E & Huhtanen, P (1995) Rehutaulukot ja Ruokintasuositukset: Märehtijät, Siat, Siipikarja ja Hevoset (Feed Tables and Feeding Recommendations: Ruminants, Pigs, Poultry and Horses). Helsinki: Yliopistopaino.
Van Loo, J, Cummings, J, Delzenne, N, et al. (1999) Functional food properties of non-digestible oligosaccharides: a consensus report from the ENDO project (DGXII AIRII-CT94-1095). Br J Nutr 81, 121132.
Vogt, JA & Woleyer, TM (2003) Fecal acetate is inversely related to acetate absorption from the human rectum and distal colon. J Nutr 33, 31453148.
Wallace, JL & Devchand, PR (2005) Emerging roles for cyclooxygenase-2 in gastrointestinal mucosal defence. Br J Pharmacol 145, 275282.
Wendum, D, Masliah, J, Trugnan, G & Flejou, JF (2004) Cyclooxygenase-2 and its role in colorectal cancer development. Virchows Arch 445, 327333.


Effect of polydextrose on intestinal microbes and immune functions in pigs

  • Francesca Fava (a1), Harri Mäkivuokko (a2), Hilkka Siljander-Rasi (a3), Heli Putaala (a2), Kirsti Tiihonen (a2), Julian Stowell (a4), Kieran Tuohy (a1), Glenn Gibson (a1) and Nina Rautonen (a2)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed