Prebiotic potential of cranberry pomace fractions detailed in study

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - WilshireImages
©Getty Images - WilshireImages

Related tags cranberries Ocean spray microbiome modulation

A new study funded by Ocean Spray details the activity of prebiotic fractions found in cranberries.

The new study was published recently in the journal Microorganisms. It was the work of a team of experts from the US Department of Agriculture as well as Christina Khoo, PhD, Ocean Spray’s director of emerging science and regulatory affairs.

The researchers looked into the effects of two fractions derived from cranberry pomace that had been treated with the enzyme pectinase.  The fractions are arabino-xyloglucan and pectic oligosaccharides.

Study materials exhaustively characterized

The structures of the molecules were elucidated with several analytical approaches including high-performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection, matrix-assisted laser desorption/Ionization mass spectrometry  and a combined gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) approach.  Using the combine analyses the researchers were able to accurately characterize both the monosaccharide and oligosaccharide structures as well as getting a picture of the glycosyl linkage arrangement.

To test the microbiome altering activity the cranberry pomace fractions the researchers cultivated several dozen Lactobacillus ​strains using the cranberry fractions as substrates. For the sake of comparison, the same strains were also cultivated under the same conditions using inulin and a commercially available fructooliggosaccharide (FOS).

In addition, the researchers tested the cranberry materials by using them to treat fecal cultures taken from three volunteers. 

Study details specific strains that grew well

The researchers measured both overall bacterial cell growth as well as short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production.  They concluded that ten of the Lactobacillus strains grew well on the cranberry pomace.

“This study demonstrated that the ability to metabolize cranberry oligosaccharides is Lactobacillus strain specific, with some strains having the potential to be probiotics, and for the first time showed these ten strains were capable of growth on this carbon source. The novel cranberry pectic and arabino-xyloglucan oligosaccharide structures reported here combined with the Lactobacillus strains that can metabolize cranberry oligosaccharides and produce short-chain fatty acids, have excellent potential as health-promoting synbiotics,” ​the researchers concluded.

Ocean Spray was the principal funder of the study with additional funding coming from the US Departments of Energy and Agriculture.

2022, 10​(7), 1346;
Cranberry Arabino-Xyloglucan and Pectic Oligosaccharides Induce Lactobacillus Growth and Short-Chain Fatty Acid Production 

Authors: Hotchiss Jr AT, et al.

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