Fermentation of resistant starch : implications for colonic health in the monogastric animal
Retrograded starches are commonly found in foods due to the production and/or processing conditions they have received prior to consumption. These resistant starches escape digestion in the small intestine and are fermented in the colon by the microflora present, to produce gases and SCFA in varying amounts. These are utilised by the host animal as an energy source, with a low gut pH being maintained by the production of SCFA. The fermentation of carbohydrates within the colon is beneficial to the health of the gut, as the beneficial bacterial species such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium spp. are maintained, and a low pH reduces the activity of potentially harmful species such as the coliforms. The production of toxic metabolites from the breakdown of proteins will be reduced if these resistant starches persist further along the colon as a carbohydrate source. This is particularly important in the distal region of the colon, where the carbohydrate source usually becomes limited. The fermentation of both native and retrograded starches from various botanical sources containing varying amounts of the major components amylose and amylopectin, was examined. In particular, the effects on bacterial fermentation of variations in the ratios of amylose and amylopectin in starch, and of treatments such as retrogradation and/or pancreatin digestion was examined.