Fermentation of ferulated arabinoxylan recovered from the maize bioethanol industry

Mayra A. Mendez-Encinas, Dora E. Valencia-Rivera, Elizabeth Carvajal-Millan*, Humberto Astiazaran-Garcia, Valérie Micard, Agustín Rascón-Chu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Maize by-product from the bioethanol industry (distiller’s dried grains with solubles, DDGS) is a source of ferulated arabinoxylan (AX), which is a health-promoting polysaccharide. In the present study, AX from DDGS was fermented by a representative colonic bacterial mixture (Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium adolescentis, and Bacteroides ovatus), and the effect of the fermented AX (AX-f) on the proliferation of the cell line Caco-2 was investigated. AX was efficiently metabolized by these bacteria, as evidenced by a decrease in the polysaccharide molecular weight from 209 kDa to < 50 kDa in AX-f, the release of ferulic acid (FA) from polysaccharide chains (1.14 µg/mg AX-f), and the short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) production (277 µmol/50 mg AX). AX-f inhibited the proliferation of Caco-2 cells by 80–40% using concentrations from 125–1000 µg/mL. This dose-dependent inverse effect was attributed to the increased viscosity of the media due to the polysaccharide concentration. The results suggest that the AX-f dose range and the SCFA and free FA production are key determinants of antiproliferative activity. Using the same polysaccharide concentrations, non-fermented AX only inhibited the Caco-2 cells proliferation by 8%. These findings highlight the potential of AX recovered from the maize bioethanol industry as an antiproliferative agent once fermented by colonic bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Antiproliferative agent
  • Colon cancer
  • Fermentation
  • Ferulated arabinoxylan
  • Ferulic acid


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