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Laminarin in the dietary fibre concept

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Abstract:

Dietary fibres consist of edible plant polysaccharides that are resistant to digestion and absorption in the human small intestine but undergo complete or partial fermentation in the colon. Seaweeds, notably Laminaria spp, are particularly rich in polysaccharides resistant to hydrolysis in the upper gastrointestinal tract and are, in consequence, considered as dietary fibres. Most of the carbohydrates from Laminaria spp are thought to be indigestible by humans. The main storage polysaccharide of these algae is laminarin, a ‐polymer of glucose. The aims of this work were, on the one hand, to compare various methods of extraction of laminarin by partial characterisation of the product obtained and, on the other hand, to study the fate of this polysaccharide and its effects in the gastrointestinal tract in order to determine its potential as a dietary fibre in human nutrition. Among four methods tested to extract laminarin, the best appeared to be a hot HCl‐based method. Human digestive enzymes did not hydrolyse laminarin, so this polysaccharide can be considered as a dietary fibre. After ingestion by rats, this polysaccharide was not found in faeces of these animals. It did not increase the intestinal transit and stool output in vivo, but it increased the contractile response of the stomach to acetylcholine in vitro. Copyright © 2004 Society of Chemical Industry

Keywords: dietary fibre; gastrointestinal tract; intestinal motility; seaweed; transit

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.1754

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biochemistry and General Physiology, University of Liege, Institute of Chemistry B6C, B-4000 Liege, Belgium 2: Department of Human Physiology and Physiopathology, University of Liege, B36, B-4000 Liege, Belgium 3: Department of Paediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology, Academic Hospital of Maastricht, NL-6200 Maastricht, The Netherlands

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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