Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

News > Research

Read more breaking news



Spruce extract could be ‘untapped’ prebiotic

By Stephen Daniells , 26-Oct-2012

Spruce extract could be ‘untapped’ prebiotic

An extract from spruce (Picea abies) may selectively enhance the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and offer a novel prebiotic for the nutritional products, says a new study.

Finnish scientists report that hemicelluloses extracts from spruce could stimulate the growth of B. lactis Bb12, B. longum, and L. rhamnosus GG in lab tests.

“These bacteria, which are among the most common used probiotics, started to grow faster, reached higher concentrations and also stayed viable for longer periods,” they wrote in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry .

“Hemicellulose is an untapped natural resource, which can be produced economically in large quantities,” they added.

“Therefore, the study of probiotics and hemicellulose together could also have potential for synbiotic formulations.”


The study shows a bacteria-boosting effect in lab tests and the actual prebiotic activity of the ingredients is still to be shown.

Prebiotics are defined as “non-digestible (by the host) food ingredients that have a beneficial effect through their selective metabolism in the intestinal tract” (Gibson et al. 2004).

Study details

The Finnish researchers extracted specific hemicelluloses called galactoglucomannan from spurce – these are the second most common group of polysaccharides in nature, they noted.

The results showed that Bifidobacterium species were able to ferment the spruce-derived galactoglucomannan.

In addition, the amount of viable bacteria was almost 100 times higher in the samples exposed to galactoglucomannan than the control samples, said the researchers.

“This shows that bifidobacteria not only started to proliferate earlier and reached higher concentration, but they also remained viable for a longer period when there was galactoglucomannan added in medium.”

According to the researchers, the bifido-boosting potential of galactoglucomannan are comparable to those observed with established prebiotics like fructooligosaccharide.

“An assessment of the components as potential ingredients in foods needs to be completed,” they added.

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, Article ASAP, doi: 10.1021/jf303741h
“Galactoglucomannan Extracted from Spruce (Picea abies) as a Carbohydrate Source for Probiotic Bacteria”
Authors: L. Polari, P. Ojansivu, S. Makela, C. Eckerman, B. Holmbom, S. Salminen

Related products

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars