Posted on Nov 28, 2012, 6 a.m.
A polysaccharide from Picea abies (spruce) may selectively enhance the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
A prebiotic is a non-digestible food component that helps to promote microbiota health in the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers from the University of Turku (Finland) report that the spruce tree (Picea abies) is abundant in galactoglucomannan – a type of hemicellulose that has been suggested by previous studies to exert preiotic effects. L. Polari and colleagues showed that Bifidobacterium (beneficial bacteria) species were able to ferment the spruce-derived compound, in a lab model. Additionally, the team observed that the amount of viable bacteria was nearly 100-times higher in samples exposed to galactoglucomannan, as compared to the control samples. Observing that: “Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis strain Bb12, a commonly used probiotic, was able to adapt to the galactoglucomannan leading to more efficient utilization of hemicellulose-derived saccharides,” the study authors submit t hat: “Our study demonstrates prebiotic properties for galactoglucomannan.”
Polari L, Ojansivu P, Mäkelä S, Eckerman C, Holmbom B, Salminen S. “Galactoglucomannan Extracted from Spruce (Picea abies) as a Carbohydrate Source for Probiotic Bacteria.” J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Oct 24.