Two high-amylose maize starches with different amounts of resistant starch vary in their effects on fermentation, tissue and digesta mass accretion, and bacterial populations in the large bowel of pigs
Four groups of young pigs (n 6) were fed a diet containing 50 % maize starch as either a highly digestible waxy starch (control; 0 % amylose) or one of three resistant starch (RS) diets, namely a high-amylose maize starch (HAMS; 85 % amylose), this starch subjected to hydrothermal treatment (HTHAMS; 85 % amylose), or a blend of HAMS and HTHAMS included in equal amounts, for 21 d. Food intake and live weight at the end of the study were similar among the four groups. Ileal starch digestibility was lower in pigs fed the three RS diets but was greater for HAMS (88 %) than for HTHAMS (70 %; P < 0·05). Faecal output and large bowel digesta mass, and concentrations and pools of individual and total SCFA were higher (by about two- to threefold; all P < 0·05) and digesta pH lower (by about 1 unit, all P < 0·001) in pigs fed either HAMS or HTHAMS compared to the controls. These differences in biomarkers were seen along the length of the large bowel. Colon length was 0·5–0·9 m longer (19–35 %) in pigs fed the high-RS diets relative to those fed the highly digestible starch diet (P < 0·05). Faecal and proximal colonic lactobacilli and bifidobacteria numbers were higher (by 1 and 3 log units; P < 0·05) in pigs fed the HAMS or HTHAMS diets. Although both high-amylose starches promoted fermentation throughout the large bowel, the data suggest that the effects of HTHAMS may be more pronounced in the distal region compared to those of HAMS.