Investigating the effect of probiotics in the small intestine is particularly complex, due to its inaccessible location in the gastrointestinal tract. To overcome this challenge, we employed the high throughput ex vivo SIFR® technology, which is validated to provide predictive insights for clinical findings. We investigated the effects of a 9-species probiotic formula (Ecologic® 825) on the ileostoma microbiota of healthy humans. To account for interpersonal variation, we included six donors in the study. Microbial composition and metabolite production were analysed at 5 different time points, which facilitated the identification of correlations between dynamic changes in the microbial composition and metabolic fingerprints of the community. Notably, supplementation with the probiotic formula led to a decrease in ethanol production, associated with a reduction of pathobionts such as Enterococcaceae and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Additionally, the abundance of beneficial species such as Lactobacillaceae, Veillonella dispar and Anaestipes caccae resulted in a sharp increase in the levels of propionate, butyrate, and other health-related metabolites. The findings of this SIFR® study can be used to develop more effective treatments for a range of small intestinal conditions.
There is growing awareness that interpersonal and age-dependent differences in gut microbiota composition impact prebiotic effects. The present study investigated the age-dependent prebiotic effect of fructans and HMOs in children and adults. For the fructans, inulin and FOS are well-established prebiotics. Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), on the other hand, are a more recent class of prebiotics that consist of a broader range of monosaccharide components and glycosidic linkage types, impacting their utilisation by the microbiota. Relying on the high throughput of the ex vivo SIFR® technology, all these actives were investigated in parallel on the gut microbiota of children and adults. The resulting compositional shift can be divided into three categories: bifidogenic across ages, for children, or for adults. Furthermore, age-specific compositional shifts occurred (B. pseudocatenulatum, and various Bacteroides spp for children; B. adolescentis, and various Phocaeicola spp). Lastly, by combining targeted analysis and untargeted metabolomics, health-promoting metabolites connected to the gut-brain axis, immunity, and overall gut health were found to be associated with those compositional changes. In conclusion, HMOs are promising modulators of the adult and particularly the children’s microbiota.