Linear inulin-type fructan (ITF) prebiotics have a putative role in the prevention of colorectal cancer, whereas relatively little is known about branched fructans. This study aims to investigate the fermentation properties and potential prebiotic activity of branched fructans derived from Agave angustifolia Haw, using the Simulator of Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME) model. The proximal, transverse and distal vessels were used to investigate fructan fermentation throughout the colon and to assess the alterations of the microbial composition and fermentation metabolites (short chain fatty acids and ammonia). The influence on bioactivity of the fermentation supernatant was assessed by MTT, Comet and transepithelial electrical resistance (TER), respectively. Addition of Agave fructan to the SHIME model significantly increased (P <0.05), bifidobacteria populations (proximal and transverse), SCFA concentrations (proximal, transverse and distal) and decreased ammonia concentrations in the distal vessel. Furthermore, the fermentation supernatant significantly (P <0.05) increased the TER of a Caco-2 cell monolayer (%) and decreased fluorescein-based paracellular flux, suggesting enhanced barrier function and reduced epithelial barrier permeability (proximal and distal vessel). While cytotoxicity and genotoxicity remained unaltered in response to the presence of Agave fructans. To conclude, branched Agave fructans show indications of prebiotic activity, particularly in relation to colon health by exerting a positive influence on gut barrier function, an important aspect of colon carcinogenesis.
Allsopp, P., Possiemiers, S., Oyarzabal, IS., Gill, C., & Rowland, I. (2013). An exploratory study into the putative prebiotic activity of fructans isolated from Agave angustifolia and the associated anticancer activity. Anaerobe, 22, 38-44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anaerobe.2013.05.006