Dynamics of Human Gut Microbiota and Short-Chain Fatty Acids in Response to Dietary Interventions with Three Fermentable Fibers.
Production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), especially butyrate, in the gut microbiome is required for optimal health but is frequently limited by the lack of fermentable fiber in the diet. We attempted to increase butyrate production by supplementing the diets of 174 healthy young adults for 2 weeks with resistant starch from potatoes (RPS), resistant starch from maize (RMS), inulin from chicory root, or an accessible corn starch control. RPS resulted in the greatest increase in total SCFAs, including butyrate. Although the majority of microbiomes responded to RPS with increases in the relative abundance of bifidobacteria, those that responded with an increase in Ruminococcus bromii or Clostridium chartatabidum were more likely to yield higher butyrate concentrations, especially when their microbiota were replete with populations of the butyrate-producing species Eubacterium rectale RMS and inulin induced different changes in fecal communities, but they did not generate significant increases in fecal butyrate levels.IMPORTANCE These results reveal that not all fermentable fibers are equally capable of stimulating SCFA production, and they highlight the importance of the composition of an individual's microbiota in determining whether or not they respond to a specific dietary supplement. In particular, R. bromii or C. chartatabidum may be required for enhanced butyrate production in response to RS. Bifidobacteria, though proficient at degrading RS and inulin, may not contribute to the butyrogenic effect of those fermentable fibers in the short term.