Current prebiotics are predominantly carbohydrates. However, great competition exists among gut microbes for the scarce protein in the colon, as most consumed protein is digested and absorbed in the small intestine. Herein we evaluated in-vivo novel next-generation prebiotics: protein-containing-prebiotics, for selectively-targeted delivery of protein to colonic probiotics, to boost their growth. This system is based on micellar-particles, composed of Maillard-glycoconjugates of 2′-Fucosyllactose (2′-FL, human-milk-oligosaccharide) shell, engulfing lactoferrin peptic-then-tryptic hydrolysate (LFH) core. This core-shell structure lowers protein-core digestibility, while the prebiotic glycans are hypothesized to serve as molecular-recognition ligands for selectively targeting probiotics. To study the efficacy of this novel prebiotic, we fed C57BL/6JRccHsd mice with either 2′-FL-LFH Maillard-glycoconjugates, unconjugated components (control), or saline (blank). Administration of 2′-FL-LFH significantly increased the levels of short-chain-fatty-acids (SCFAs)-producing bacterial families (Ruminococcaceae, Lachnospiraceae) and genus (Odoribacter) and the production of the health-related metabolites, SCFAs, compared to the unconjugated components and to saline. The...

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