The growth of Bifidobacterium animalis DN-173 010 on different energy sources was studied through small- and large-scale fermentations. Growth on both more common energy sources (glucose, fructose, galactose, lactose, and sucrose) and inulin-type fructans was examined. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis was used to investigate the kinetics. Gas chromatography was used to determine the fructan degradation during the fermentation process. B. animalis DN-173 010 was unable to grow on a medium containing glucose as the sole energy source. In general, monosaccharides were poor growth substrates for the B. animalis strain. The fermentations with the inulin-type fructans resulted in changes in both growth and metabolite production due to the preferential metabolism of certain fructans, especially the short-chain oligomers. Only after depletion of the shorter chains were the larger fractions also metabolized, although to a lesser extent. Acetic acid was the major metabolite produced during all fermentation experiments. At the beginning of the fermentation, high levels of lactic acid were produced, which were partially replaced by formic acid at later stages. This suggests a shift in sugar metabolism to gain additional ATP that is necessary for growth on oligofructose, which is metabolized more slowly.
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