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Dietary fibre structures and how they change during fermentation: Dr Bernadine Flanagan
7 September 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
The major source of dietary fibre is plant cell walls, which are not digested in the stomach and small intestine and are available for fermentation in the large intestine. Plant cell walls are complex, usually made up of pectins and hemicelluloses within a cellulose network. The fermentation of plant cell walls by gut microbiota is also complex, so initially we studied changes in structure and concentration of individual plant cell wall polysaccharides during in vitro large intestinal fermentation. Subsequently, a range of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy techniques were used to examine plant cell walls and whole plant foods before and after digestion and fermentation. Not all dietary fibres are equal and by understanding the mechanisms by which DF is fermented, it will be possible to generate more detailed nutritional guidelines for consumption of foods containing dietary fibre as part of a healthy diet.
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