Oligosaccharide-Lactoferrin conjugates particles for selective targeting of proteins to probiotic bacteria in the colon

MSc. Graduate Seminar, Stav Pekep; Prof. Livney Lab

Consumption of prebiotic glycans seems to be a more effective approach to encourage the proliferation of gut probiotics, for improving health, compared to consumption of live probiotic microorganisms. However, these beneficial microorganisms require proteins to proliferate, while most consumed protein does not reach the gut. Still, no protein-containing prebiotics are commercially available. The main goal of this study was to fabricate, physicochemically characterize, and evaluate the prebiotic activity of a novel protein delivery system, selectively-targeted to probiotic bacteria in the colon. This system is composed of Maillard- conjugates of prebiotic oligosaccharides and lactoferrin hydrolysate. Thorough physicochemical and digestibility characterization revealed that these conjugates self-assemble into stable micelles, exhibiting low digestibility and high potential to reach the colon. In-vivo study in mice established the improved prebiotic activity of these conjugates, showing a statistically significant increase in the colonic concentration of short-chain-fatty-acids, a beneficial metabolite produced by probiotics. Altogether, this work holds great promise towards the development of the next generation of prebiotic compounds: protein-containing prebiotics.