In vitro fermentation of B-GOS: Impact on faecal bacterial populations and metabolic activity in autistic and non-autistic children

Roberta Grimaldi, Drinalda Cela, Jonathan R Swann, Jelena Vulevic, Glenn R Gibson, George Tzortzis, Adele Costabile

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Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often suffer gastrointestinal problems consistent with imbalances in the gut microbial population. Treatment with antibiotics or pro/prebiotics has been postulated to regulate microbiota and improve gut symptoms, but there is a lack of evidence for such approaches, especially for prebiotics. This study assessed the influence of a prebiotic galactooligosaccharide (B-GOS) on gut microbial ecology and metabolic function using faecal samples from autistic and non-autistic children in an in vitro gut model system. Bacteriology was analysed using flow cytometry combined with fluorescence in situ hybridization and metabolic activity by HPLC and 1H-NMR. Consistent with previous studies, the microbiota of ASD children contained a higher number of Clostridium spp. and a lower number of bifidobacteria compared to non-autistic children. B-GOS administration significantly increased bifidobacterial populations in each compartment of the models, both with autistic and non-autistic derived samples, and lactobacilli in the final vessel of non-autistic models. In addition, changes in other bacterial population have been seen in particular for Clostridium, Rosburia, Bacteroides, Atopobium, F. prausnitzii, Sutterella spp. and Veillonellaceae. Furthermore, the addition of B-GOS to the models significantly altered short chain fatty acid production in both groups, and increased ethanol and lactate in autistic children.

© 2016 The Author(s). Article uploaded in accordance with Creative Commons License CC BY-NC. It first appeared online via at
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)fiw233
JournalFEMS microbiology ecology
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2016

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