Clostridium butyricum Prazmowski can degrade and utilize resistant starch via a set of synergistically acting enzymes

Tara L. Pickens, Darrell W. Cockburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Resistant starch is a prebiotic fiber that is best known for its ability to increase butyrate production by the gut microbiota. This butyrate then plays an important role in modulating the immune system and inflammation. However, the ability to use this resistant starch appears to be a rare trait within the gut microbiota, with only a few species such as Ruminococcus bromii and Bifidobacterium adolescentis having been demonstrated to possess this ability. Furthermore, these bacteria do not directly produce butyrate themselves, rather they rely on cross-feeding interactions with other gut bacteria for its production. Here, we demonstrate that the often-used probiotic organism Clostridium butyricum also possesses the ability to utilize resistant starch from a number of sources, with direct production of butyrate. We further explore the enzymes responsible for this trait, demonstrating that they exhibit significant synergy, though with different enzymes exhibiting more or less importance depending on the source of the resistant starch. Thus, the co-administration of Clostridium butyricum may have the ability to improve the beneficial effects of resistant starch. IMPORTANCE Clostridium butyricum is seeing increased use as a probiotic, due to potential health benefits tied to its ability to produce butyrate. Here, we demonstrate that this organism can use a variety of resistant starch sources and characterize the enzymes it uses to accomplish this. Given the relative rarity of resistant starch utilizing ability within the gut and the health benefits tied to resistant starch, the combined use of this organism with resistant starch in synbiotic formulations may prove beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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