Digestion, fermentation, and pathogen anti-adhesive properties of the hMO-mimic di-fucosyl-β-cyclodextrin

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Human milk is widely acknowledged as the best food for infants, and that is not just because of nutritional features. Human milk also contains a plethora of bioactive molecules, including a large set of human milk oligosaccharides (hMOs). Especially fucosylated hMOs have received attention for their anti-adhesive effects on pathogens, preventing attachment to the intestine and infection. Because hMOs are generally challenging to produce in sufficient quantities to study and ultimately apply in (medical) infant formula, novel compounds that are inspired by hMO structures (so-called “mimics”) are interesting compounds to produce and evaluate for their biological effects.

A novel compound di-fucosyl-β-cyclodextrin (DFβCD) inspired by the molecular structures of hMOs was synthesized and its digestion, fermentation and anti-adhesive capacity studied. It was established that DFβCD is not digested by α-amylase and also resistant to fermentation by microbial enzymes from a 9 month-old infant inoculum. In addition, DFβCD was found to block adhesion of enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) to Caco-2 cells, especially when DFβCD is pre-incubated with ETEC prior to addition to the Caco-2 cells. This suggests that DFβCD functions through a decoy effect (saturating the specific receptors on the bacterial cell surface). The results are expected to inspire the generation and biological evaluation of other fucosylated hMOs and mimics, to obtain a comprehensive overview of the anti-adhesive power of fucosylated glycans.


Stella A. Verkhnyatskaya, Chunli Kong, Cynthia E. Klostermann, Henk A. Schols, Paul de Vos and Marthe T. C. Walvoort (2021) Digestion, fermentation, and pathogen anti-adhesive properties of the hMO-mimic di-fucosyl-β-cyclodextrin. Food Funct., 12, 5018-5026. DOI: 10.1039/D1FO00830G

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