Prebiotic Galactooligosaccharide Metabolism by Probiotic Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria

Taksawan Thongaram, Jennifer L. Hoeflinger, Jomay Chow, Michael J. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Galactooligosaccharides (GOS) are bifidogenic and lactogenic prebiotics; however, GOS utilization is strain-dependent. In this study, commercially available bifidobacteria and lactobacilli probiotic strains were evaluated for growth in the presence of GOS. Several bifidobacteria and lactobacilli grew on GOS; however, the specific GOS oligomers utilized for growth differed. A subset of probiotic bifidobacteria and lactobacilli revealed three different GOS utilization profiles delineated by the degrees of polymerization (DP) of GOS: (1) utilization of 2 DP GOS, (2) utilization of ≤3 DP GOS, and (3) utilization of all DP GOS. Specifically, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM (LA-NCFM) was found to efficiently consume all GOS oligomers. Extracellular β-galactosidase activity in the cell-free supernatant of LA-NCFM correlated with accumulation of galactose. In a LacL-deficient LA-NCFM strain, GOS utilization was abolished. This is the first report of LacL's role in GOS metabolism in LA-NCFM. In vitro GOS utilization should be considered when GOS are delivered with probiotic bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4184-4192
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 24 2017


  • bifidobacteria
  • carbohydrate utilization
  • galactooligosaccharide
  • lactobacilli
  • probiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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