Five human intestinal Bifidobacterium spp., B. longum, B. adolescentis, B. breve, B. bifidum, and B. infantis, were cultured in reinforced clostridial medium (control) and in reinforced clostridial medium supplemented with 5% (wt/vol) honey, fructooligosaccharide (FOS), galactooligosaccharide (GOS), and inulin. Inoculated samples were incubated anaerobically at 37°C for 48 h. Samples were collected at 12-h intervals and examined for specific growth rate. Levels of fermentation end products (lactic and acetic acids) were measured by high-pressure liquid chromatography. Honey enhanced the growth of the five cultures much like FOS, GOS, and inulin did. Honey, FOS, GOS, and inulin were especially effective (P < 0.05) in sustaining the growth of these cultures after 24 h of incubation as compared with the control treatment. Overall, the effects of honey on lactic and acetic acid production by intestinal Bifidobacterium spp. were similar to those of FOS, GOS, and inulin.

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