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  • 1 University of Ferrara Department of Chemistry Via L. Borsari 46 44100 Ferrara Italy
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The intestinal microflora Bifidobacteria has been adapted to utilize, as a source of energy, complex carbohydrates that escape hydrolysis by human digestive enzymes, for example fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). The ability of intestinal microflora to utilize carbohydrates in complex mixtures is of particular interest, even though few data have been reported. This paper presents the results obtained using an innovative analytical approach based on instrumental HPTLC-AMD (automated multiple development) to investigate the metabolic behavior of Bifidobacterium adolescentis MB 239 as a case study. Raffinose, FOS (sucrose, 1-kestose, nystose, fructosyl-nystose), lactose, and their monomeric moieties glucose, galactose, and fructose were simultaneously present as carbon sources in the solution to be fermented by the bacterium. The method proposed has enabled quantitative monitoring of sugar concentrations during the entire time-course of the processes. The complex sugar mixtures were separated by use of acetonitrile-acetone-water mobile phases on diol layers derivatized with 4-aminobenzoic acid.

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