The side chains of the rhamnogalacturonan I fraction in sugar beet pectin are particularly rich in arabinan moieties, which may be substituted with feruloyl groups. In this work the arabinan-rich fraction resulting from sugar beet pulp based pectin production was separated by Amberlite XAD hydrophobic interaction and membrane separation into four fractions based on feruloyl substitution and arabino-oligosaccharide chain length: short-chain (DP 2–10) and long-chain (DP 7–14) feruloylated and nonferuloylated arabino-oligosaccharides, respectively. HPAEC, SEC, and MALDI-TOF/TOF analyses of the fractions confirmed the presence of singly and doubly substituted feruloylated arabino-oligosaccharides in the feruloyl-substituted fractions. In vitro microbial fermentation by human fecal samples (n = 6 healthy human volunteers) showed a selective stimulation of bifidobacteria by both the feruloylated and the nonferuloylated long-chain arabino-oligosaccharides to the same extent as the prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharides control. None of the fractions stimulated the growth of the potential pathogen Clostridium difficile in monocultures. This work provides a first report on the separation of potentially bioactive feruloylated arabino-oligosaccharides from sugar beet pulp and an initial indication of the potentially larger bifidogenic effect of relatively long-chain arabino-oligosaccharides as opposed to short-chain arabino-oligosaccharides.
- Feruloyl substitution
- Hydrophilic interaction chromatography
- Clostridium difficile