Lean and obese microbiota: differences in in vitro fermentation of food-by-products

C Bussolo de Souza, S M I Saad, K Venema*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of the study was to investigate the potential prebiotic effects of food-by-products (cassava bagasse (n=3), orange bagasse (n=2) and passion fruit peel (n=3)) using an in vitro model simulating the proximal colon, and to assess possible differences in fermentation when using faecal microbiota from lean or obese people. Fermentation of the by-products was compared to a control medium and the prebiotic inulin. The effects of the by-products on the dynamics of the gut microbiota differed according to the type of microbiota, as well as the type of by-product used. Principal Coordinate Analysis of the microbiota showed evidence of a clear separate clustering of lean and obese microbiota before the addition of substrates, which disappeared after fermentation, and instead, distinct clusters due to primary carbohydrate composition of the by-products (starch, fructan and pectin) were present. This is evidence that the substrates drove the obese microbiota to a healthier profile, more similar to that of the lean microbiota. Cassava bagasses enriched the beneficial genus Bifidobacterium in the obese microbiota. The production of total SCFA by cassava bagasses by the obese microbiota was higher than for control medium and inulin. Orange bagasses stimulated the growth of the butyrate-producing genus Coprococcus. Passion fruit peels were poorly fermented and generated negligible amounts of intermediate metabolites, indicating slow fermentation. Nevertheless, passion fruit peel fermentation resulted in a microbiota with the highest diversity and evenness, a positive trait regarding host health. In conclusion, the use of food-by-products could be an important step to tackle obesity and decrease the waste of valuable food material and consequently environmental pollution. They are an inexpensive and non-invasive way to be used as a dietary intervention to improve health, as they were shown here to drive the composition of the obese microbiota to a healthier profile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-411
Number of pages15
JournalBeneficial Microbes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2021


  • DIET
  • cassava bagasse
  • gut microbiota
  • orange bagasse
  • passion fruit peel
  • prebiotic

Cite this