Uncooked Taiwanese yam (Dioscorea alata L. cv. Tainung No. 2) beneficially modulated the large bowel function and faecal microflora in BALB/c mice



This study investigated the effects of an uncooked Taiwanese yam, Dioscorea alata L. cv. Tainung No. 2, on faecal characteristics, faecal microflora, short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) levels in the caecal content and faeces, and morphological and proliferation indices of the caecal and colonic crypts in BALB/c mice. Mice were randomly allocated to consume a control diet or a 25 or 50% (w/w) yam diet for 21 days. Faecal wet and dry masses increased with increasing proportions of dietary yam. Both yam diets similarly increased faecal moisture content and decreased faecal pH as compared with the control diet. The yam diets increased total bacteria and bifidobacteria counts and decreased Clostridium perfringens counts in faeces. The 50% yam diet, but not the 25% yam diet, increased total SCFA concentration in the caecal content. However, both yam diets increased total SCFA output in faeces. Both yam diets also promoted crypt depth, width and proliferation indices in the caecum; in contrast, they only promoted crypt width in the distal colon. In conclusion, the 25 and 50% yam diets increased the faecal mass and SCFA output, modulated the faecal microflora and thickened the mucosa lining of the caecum in BALB/c mice. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry