Long-chain dextran boosts diversity

Integrating sequencing data with bacterial cell density exposes the limitations of traditional α-diversity indices, which often overlook variations in cell density, leading to overestimated diversity in low biomass samples. To address this, we utilized the high-throughput and predictive ex vivo SIFR® technology and introduced the innovative Community Modulation Score (CMS). The CMS, rooted in quantitative sequencing, reflects the change in species numbers when an additional substrate is introduced.

Our study employed this approach to assess NextDext®, a long-chain dextran produced by Weissella cibaria, on the gut microbiota of six adults. Results consistently showed a positive CMS for NextDext®, indicating increased microbial diversity. In contrast, inulin led to a negative CMS, suggesting decreased microbial diversity.

Furthermore, NextDext® fostered a diverse profile of health-related gut bacteria, while exhibiting similar levels of acetate and butyrate production, significantly higher propionate production, and reduced gas production compared to inulin. These findings highlight the promise of next-generation prebiotics like NextDext® that enhance microbial diversity, potentially offering superior health benefits with improved human tolerance.

Full article: Van den Abbeele et al,2024, Biology