Caister Academic Press

Metabolism of bifidobacteria

David A. Sela, Neil P. J Price and David A. Mills
from: Bifidobacteria: Genomics and Molecular Aspects (Edited by: Baltasar Mayo and Douwe van Sinderen). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2010)

Abstract

The genus Bifidobacterium possesses a unique fructose-6-phosphate phosphoketolase pathway employed to ferment carbohydrates. Much metabolic research on bifidobacteria has focused on oligosaccharide metabolism as these carbohydrate polymers are available in their otherwise nutrient-limited habitats. Interestingly, infant-associated bifidobacterial phylotypes appear to have evolved the ability to ferment milk oligosaccharides, whereas adult-associated species utilize plant oligosaccharides, consistent with what they encounter in their respective environments. As breast-fed infants often harbor bifidobacteria dominated gut consortia, there have been numerous applications to mimic the bifidogenic properties of milk oligosaccharides. These are broadly classified as plant-derived fructo-oligosaccharides or dairy-derived galacto-oligosaccharides, which are differentially metabolized and distinct from milk oligosaccharide catabolism. In the following chapter we review bifidobacterial carbohydrate metabolism, as well as several other topics including nitrogen and iron metabolism read more ...
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