Abstract: In in vitro batch fermentations, both alkali-extractable corn arabinoxylan (CAX) and its xylanase-hydrolyzate (CH) were utilized by human fecal microbiota and produced similar short chain fatty acid (SCFA) contents and desirable long fermentation profiles with low initial gas production. Fortification of these arabinoxylans into processed foods would contribute desirable dietary fiber benefits to humans. Heat and pH stability, as well as viscosity behavior of CAX and CH were investigated. Size exclusion chromatography was used to analyze the molecular size distribution after treatment at different pH's and heating temperatures for different time periods. Treated under boiling and pressure cooking conditions at pH 3, CAX was degraded to a smaller molecular size, whereas the molecular size of the CH showed only a minor decrease. CAX and CH were mostly stable at neutral pH, except when CAX was treated under pressure for 60 min that slightly lowered molecular size. At 37 °C, neither CAX nor CH was adversely affected by treatment at low or neutral pH. The viscosities of solutions containing 5% and 10% of CAX were 48.7 and 637.0 mPa.s, respectively that were higher than those of solutions containing 5% and 10% of its hydrolyzate at shear rate 1 s−1. The CAX solutions showed Newtonian flow behavior, whereas shear-thinning behavior was observed in CH solutions. In conclusion, the hydrolyzate of CAX has potential to be used in high fiber drinks due to its favorable fermentation properties, higher pH and heat stability, lower and shear-thinning viscosity, and lighter color than the native CAX.
Practical Application: Arabinoxylan extracted by an alkali from corn bran is a soluble fiber with a desirable low initial and extended fermentation property. Corn arabinoxylan hydrolyzate using an endoxylanase was much more stable at different levels of acidity and heat than the native arabinoxylan, and showed lower solution viscosity and shear-thinning property that indicates its potential as an alternative functional dietary fiber for the beverage industry.