Epithelial cell growth
Epithelial cell differentiation
Transit of bolus pH of bolus
Hydrolysis and fermentation of nondigestible carbohydrates (dietary fibers, oligosaccharides) Hydrolysis and fermentation of nondigested proteins and peptides Hydrolysis of nondigested lipids and production of free fatty acids Partial salvage of energy of nondigested dietary components Production of
• Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)
• Branched short-chain fatty acids (BSCFAs)
Deconjugation and dehydroxylation of bile acids
Degradation of cholesterol
Catabolism of steroid hormones
Synthesis of vitamins
Production of mutagens (e.g., nitrosamines) Metabolism of xenobiotics Stimulation of immune system Enhanced resistance to infections Barrier effect Colonization resistance
Modulation of activity(ies) of endocrine-active cells in colonic mucosa (e.g., L-cells)
content (low pH). In the left/distal (descending segment and sigmoid-rectum) colon, the availability of substrates (especially carbohydrates) is usually low, bacteria grow slowly, and pH is close to neutrality (7).1 Moreover, the breakdown and fermentation of organic materials reaching the large bowel is a complex process that involves different groups of bacteria with miscellaneous and complementary activities. Bacteria are generally not specific for particular metabolic activities; they all metabolize
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