Influence of resistant starch on the SCFA production and cell counts of butyrate-producing Eubacterium spp. in the human intestine


Andreas Schwiertz Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung, Abteilung Gastrointestinale Mikrobiologie, Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 114-116, D-14558 Bergholz-Rehbrücke, Germany (e-mail:


Aims:  The genus Eubacterium, which is the second most common genus in the human intestine, includes several known butyrate producers. We hypothesized that Eubacterium species play a role in the intestinal butyrate production and are inducible by resistant starch.

Methods and Results:  In a human pilot study species-specific and group-specific 16S rRNA-targeted, Cy3 (indocarbocyanine)-labelled oligonucleotide probes were used to quantify butyrogenic species of the genera Eubacterium, Clostridium and Ruminococcus. Following the intake of RS type III a significant increase in faecal butyrate but not in total SCFA was observed. However, increase in butyrate was not accompanied by a proliferation in the targeted bacteria.

Conclusions:  The tested Eubacterium species have the capacity to produce butyrate but do not appear to play a major role for butyric acid production in the human intestine.

Significance and Impact of the Study: In view of the fact that the bacteria responsible for butyrate production are largely unknown, it is still difficult to devise a dietary intervention to stimulate butyrogenic bacteria in a targeted way.