SUMMARY: Sixty-four strains of intestinal bacteria were cultured under anaerobic conditions in lactulose-containing media to assess their ability to ferment lactulose. Some organisms were unable to metabolize the disaccharide, while others, e.g. clostridia and lactobacilli, metabolized lactulose extensively. Quantitative analyses of the fermentation products indicated that the major non-gaseous metabolites were acetic, lactic and butyric acids. Hydrogen and carbon dioxide were the only gases detected. Fermentation products were estimated for selected species throughout their growth cycles. The products of fermentation of lactulose by stool cultures varied with incubation conditions such as pH, but correlated well with those produced by pure cultures. These results are discussed in relation to the therapeutic uses of lactulose.


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