Distinct effects of fiber and colon segment on microbiota-derived indoles and short-chain fatty acids

Zhan Huang, Jos Boekhorst, Vincenzo Fogliano, Edoardo Capuano, Jerry M. Wells*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Effects of pectin, inulin, and their combination on the production of microbiota-derived indoles and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) from different colon segments were investigated in a batch system inoculated with microbiota from proximal colon (PC) and distal colon (DC) compartments of the Simulator of Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem. Bacteria from DC compartment had a higher abundance of Firmicutes and a stronger capacity to produce indoles and SCFAs than bacteria from PC compartment. Fiber supplementation significantly increased the production of SCFAs, indole-3-propionic acid, and indole-3-lactic acid, but decreased the production of oxindole, tryptamine, and serotonin. Pectin specifically promoted the production of indole-3-acetic acid and indole-3-aldehyde. Interestingly, supplementation of pectin or inulin increased the relative abundance of Bacteroidetes whereas supplementation of a mixture of two fibers decreased it. Overall, these results suggest that fiber supplementation and colon segment affect the composition of gut microbiota and the microbial catabolism of tryptophan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133801
JournalFood Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Colonic fermentation
  • Indole derivatives
  • Inulin
  • Pectin
  • Short-chain fatty acids
  • Tryptophan


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