Long-term effects on the digestive tract of feeding large amounts of resistant starch: A study in pigs

Daniel Martínez-Puig, Marisol Castillo, Miquel Nofrarias, Eva Creus, José F. Pérez

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17 Citations (Scopus)


The present study aimed to assess the digestive consequences of the long-term intake of two starches providing different amounts of resistant starch. Growing pigs were used as the animal model and meal-fed for 14 weeks on a diet containing a high amount of either raw potato starch (RPS) or corn starch (CS). Digestive adaptation was chronologically evaluated by measuring organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and starch digestibility. After 97 days, whole-tract digestibility of OM, CP and NDF was lower for RPS- compared to CS-fed pigs, whereas no differences were observed in faecal starch digestibility. In contrast, starch digestibility was reduced in the proximal compartments (ileum, caecum and proximal colon) of animals fed the RPS diet. The concentration of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs; P < 0.05), and purine bases (PBs; P < 0.01) was also higher in distal colon and rectum of animals fed the RPS diet. Changes in bacterial community structure (dendogram analyses) were seen in the rectum. Biodiversity tends to increase more in RPS compared to CS fed animals (34.1 vs. 28.8; P = 0.07). Among SCFAs, the proportion of butyrate was two-fold higher in proximal colon digesta of RPS compared to CS fed pigs (0.20 vs. 0.11; P < 0.05). Increased butyrate formation in the colon reduced the number of apoptosis per crypt in the proximal colonic mucosa (0.38 vs. 0.62; P < 0.05). RPS fermentation reduced indices associated with damage to intestinal epithelial cells, such as crypt cell hyperproliferation and magnesium excretion. Long-term ingestion of RPS induces pronounced changes of the digestive tract and their microflora, modifying mineral absorption and colonic morphology for which health benefits are likely to be associated. © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1991-1999
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2007


  • Growing pigs
  • Large bowel fermentation
  • Resistant starch
  • Short-chain fatty acids


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