Prebiotics are selectively fermented ingredients that allow specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity of the gastrointestinal microflora, that confer benefits upon host well-being and health.
The most studied prebiotics are the fructans inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides. Over the past years, we used a multidisciplinary approach to study the properties of arabinoxylan oligosaccharide (AXOS) as a novel prebiotic. We here report on a pilot scale process for extracting AXOS from wheat bran, and on studies of their prebiotic effects in chickens and rats as well as in humans.
We also demonstrate the feasibility of in situ production of AXOS in breadmaking by using appropriate enzyme technologies and deal with their regulatory status in view of the most recent definitions of dietary fibre and the views on health effects of prebiotics.
A major feature of AXOS is that, in the colon, it is selectively fermented to short chain fatty acids in general and butyric acid (a fuel for colon mucosa cells) in particular. AXOS induces specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity of the gastrointestinal microflora, that confer benefits upon host well-being and health. It thus meets the criteria needed for classification as prebiotics. The KU Leuven intellectual property generated on AXOS led to the foundation of the spinout Fugeia in 2008 which further developed the concept and in 2013 transferred it to Cargill, a privately held multinational corporation.
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