Dietary fiber chemical and physical structures for different functions related to the gut microbiome

Bruce Hamaker, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Food Science, Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, Department of Food Science, Purdue University

Date and Location

When (Date/Time)

February 14, 2019, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM


252 Erickson Food Science Building

Add to calendar


Dietary fibers are comprised of a multitude of chemical and physical structures from a range of plant sources, many of them considered as waste or low-value by-products. They have high specificity to utilization requirements of both individual and groups of bacteria, and changes in fiber structures can change the dynamics of competition and use. The community structure of the gut microbiota also affects how fibers are used and there is variance in fiber response among individuals, though it looks like there are group responses. In this seminar, an overview of how fibers are utilized by the gut microbiota will be presented, how fermentable fibers may be viewed as prebiotics, and specificity of fiber structure to bacterial fermentation. Examples will be given of our research of physical and enzymatic modifications to fibers that alter their function in terms of bacterial fermentability and short chain fatty acid production. A long-term goal of the work is to understand how shifts can be made to the gut microbiota community for beneficial health outcomes.