Xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS) with various substituents were fermented in vitro by fecal inocula (FI) from four human volunteers to study the influence of substitution on the ability and rate of fermentation and on the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and lactate. By all FI used nonsubstituted XOS (nXOS) and arabino-XOS (AXOS) were fermented more quickly than the more complex structures of acetylated XOS (AcXOS) and XOS containing a 4-O-methylglucuronic acid group (GlcAmeXOS). In the first stage (0-40 h) of the fermentations of nXOS and AXOS mainly acetate and lactate were formed. The fermentations of AcXOS and GlcAmeXOS resulted in a lower lactate production, whereas the concentration of propionate and butyrate increased. These results put emphasis on the detailed elucidation of the structural features of nondigestible oligosaccharides in general to understand their fermentation mechanisms more precisely.