Scope: We aimed to investigate the effects of three different soluble pectins on the digestion of other consumed carbohydrates, and the consequent alterations of microbiota composition and SCFA levels in the intestine of pigs.
Methods and results: Piglets were fed a low-methyl esterified pectin enriched diet (LMP), a high-methyl esterified pectin enriched diet (HMP), a hydrothermal treated soybean meal enriched diet (aSBM) or a control diet (CONT). LMP significantly decreased the ileal digestibility of starch resulting in more starch fermentation in the proximal colon. In the ileum, low-methyl esterified pectin present was more efficiently fermented by the microbiota than high-methyl esterified pectin present which was mainly fermented by the microbiota in the proximal colon. Treated soybean meal was mainly fermented in the proximal colon and shifted the fermentation of cereal dietary fiber to more distal parts, resulting in high SCFA levels in the mid colon. LMP, HMP, and aSBM decreased the relative abundance of the genus Lactobacillus and increased that of Prevotella in the colon.
Conclusion: The LMP, HMP, and aSBM, differently affected the digestion processes compared to the control diet and shaped the colonic microbiota from a Lactobacillus-dominating flora to a Prevotella-dominating community, with potential health-promoting effects.