Manipulation of colonic bacteria and volatile fatty acid production by dietary high amylose maize (amylomaize) starch granules


Correspondence to: Xin Wang, School of Medicine, Mater Adult Hospital, Raymond Tec. South Bank, QLD 4010, Australia (e-mail:


Aims: To study the effects of amylomaize starch and modified (carboxymethylated and acetylated) amylomaize starches on the composition of colonic bacteria and the production of volatile fatty acids, in mice.
Methods and Results: Balb/c mice were fed with experimental diets containing various amount of amylomaize and modified amylomaize starches. Colonic bacterial populations and short-chain fatty acids were monitored. Results showed that the increases in indigenous bifidobacteria were detected in mice fed all starches tested; however, the highest numbers were observed in the group fed with 40% unmodified amylomaize starch. The starch type influenced the populations of indigenous Lactobacillus, Bacteroides and coliforms. High Lactobacillus numbers were achieved in the colon of mice fed with high concentration of amylomaize starch. Acetylated amylomaize starch significantly reduced the population of coliforms. In addition, orally dosed amylomaize utilizing bifidobacteria reached their highest levels when fed together with amylomaize or carboxymethylated amylomaize starch and in both cases butyrate levels were markedly increased.
Conclusions: These results indicate that different amylomaize starches could generate desirable variation in gut microflora and that particular starches may be used to selectively modify gut function.
Significance and Impact of Study: Amylomaize starch appeared to enhance the desirable composition of colonic bacteria in mice, and suggested it possessed the potential prebiotic properties. Therefore, resistant starch and its chemical derivatives may exert beneficial impacts to the human colon.