Contribution of the digestive tract microflora to amylomaize starch degradation in the rat
British Journal of Nutrition
To study in vivo the contribution of the bacterial flora to amylomaize starch degradation in the rat, germfree and conventional rats were fed on a diet containing either a normal maize starch or an amylomaize starch. In germ-free rats maize starch was almost totally digested in the small intestine, whereas 40 YO of the ingested amylomaize starch reached the caecum and 30% was excreted, despite the very high endogenous amylase activity. Study by transmission electron microscopy of germ-free
... y of germ-free caecal contents showed an endocorrosion of the starch granule. In conventional rats, as in germ-free rats, digestibility of maize starch reached 98 YO in the small intestine, whereas that of amylomaize starch was only 60 %. In the caecum of these rats amylomaize starch was fermented, and this led to a decrease in caecal pH and to formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), especially propionate. Comparison between conventional rats fed on maize starch or amylomaize starch showed that caecal SCFA concentrations during a circadian cycle varied in the same way whereas total SCFA and lactic acid concentrations were much higher in rats fed on amylomaize starch. Amylase (EC 3.2.1 . I) activity was similar in the caecal contents of conventional rats whatever the ingested starch. It was lower in conventional than in germfree rats, but no starch granule remained in the caecum of conventional rats. These results showed that bacterial amylase was more efficient at degrading resistant amylomaize starch than endogenous amylase.