Potential prebiotic effect of a long-chain dextran produced by Weissella cibaria: an in vitro evaluation, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2019.1711026
Dextrans are homopolysaccharides of D-glucose units produced by lactic acid bacteria. They have several technological applications and potential utilisation in positively modulating gut microbiota is attracting increasing attention. Whereas the prebiotic activity of low polymerisation degree (DP) dextrans has been established, high DP dextrans still deserve deeper investigation. In the present study, a long linear chain dextran produced by Weissella cibaria was compared to inulin with regards to the growth of specific health-related taxa and to the production of organic acids in pH-controlled batch cultures of intestinal microbiota. qPCR quantification of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Prevotella, Bacteroides fragilis, and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii revealed differences in their relative abundance, depending on the carbon source, that reflected the pattern of fermentation products determined by HPLC. Dextran mainly enhanced the relative amount of Prevotella and Bacteroides, consistently with a favourable acetate–propionate ratio suggesting a promising utilisation as functional ingredient in the food industry.