Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/2010
Publication Date: 8/1/2010
Citation: Sela, D.A., Price, N.P., Mills, D.A. 2010. Bifidobacteria: Genomics and molecular aspects. In: Mayo, B., van Sinderen, D., editors. Bifidobacteria: Genomics and Molecular Aspects, Chapter 4, Norfolk, U.K.: Caister Academic Press. p. 45-70. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The genus Bifidobacterium possesses a unique fructose-6-phosphate phosphoketolase pathway employed to ferment carbohydrates. Much metabolic research on bifidobacteria has focused on oligosaccharide metabolism as these carbohydrate polymers are available in their otherwise nutrient-limited habitats. Interestingly, infant-associated bifidobacterial phylotypes appear to have evolved the ability to ferment milk oligosaccharides, whereas adult-associated species utilize plant oligosaccharides, consistent with what they encounter in their respective environments. As breast-fed infants often harbor bifidobacteria dominated gut consortia, there have been numerous applications to mimic the bifidogenic properties of milk oligosaccharides. These are broadly classified as plant-derived fructo-oligosaccharides or dairy-derived galacto-oligosaccharides, which are differentially metabolized and distinct from milk oligosaccharide catabolism. In the following chapter we review bifidobacterial carbohydrate metabolism, as well as several other topics including nitrogen and iron metabolism.