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Novel applications of dietary fibers.
B. HAMAKER (1) (1) Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, U.S.A..

Although dietary fibers for labelling purpose are considered essentially as one entity and credence is put solely on amount, it is becoming apparent that the wide range of fibers found in nature have different functions and outcomes in regard to gut health. From the perspective of the colon microbiota, different fiber structures are needed to meet the needs of the various bacterial groups and this must be put into the broader context of the highly competitive environment that exists for food in order to identify fiber types that promote health. Ingestion of fibers with different physical structures is likely also important with soluble fibers being more accessible and utilized by luminal bacteria, insoluble fermentable fibers favored by certain groups bacteria (e.g. mucosal located <i>Clostridium </i>clusters), and insoluble less fermentable (or unfermentable) fibers having a critical role in maintaining good transit time and possibly acting as a platform for adherence of certain bacteria groups. Functional fibers with targeted and desirable actions in the colon which can be incorporated into processed foods are clearly on the horizon, and understanding how different fibers thus function will be increasingly important. This will be true whether it be to create or maintain healthy microbiota communities or to act to improve gut function (e.g. reduce constipation) or generally affect whole body function in a positive way (e.g. reduce systemic inflammation). In this presentation, new ideas regarding function and use of dietary fibers in foods will be presented.

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