Evaluation of the impact of a rat small intestinal extract on the digestion of four different functional fibers
The degree of digestion, modulated by rat small intestinal extract on different functional fibers was investigated. In general, inulin-type fructans and fructooligosaccharides were the most resistant to the enzymatic digestion. Results evidenced the high-resistance of fructosyl-fructose bonds. This fits well with the concept of prebiotic carbohydrates. However, the mixture of melibiose, manninotriose and verbascotetraose (α-GOS) from peas, with a considerably lower molecular weight (0.6 kDa) than the fructans studied, were highly digested (61.2%). Interestingly, the Gal-(1 → 6)-Gal bonds present into the manninotriose and verbascotetraose were more prone to be hydrolyzed than Gal-(1 → 6)-Glc (melibiose). However, when melibiose was the only disaccharide present in the reaction mixture, the hydrolysis was also high (67.7%). The use of small intestinal enzymatic preparations is a realistic approximation to evaluate the digestion of different carbohydrates, thus, showing that recognized non-digestible carbohydrates can also be partially digested.