Researchers at the University of Missouri have determined that microbiome produced enzyme Bile Salt Hydrolase (BSH) microbiome  activity can be imaged and quantified directly in vivo using real-time noninvasive bioluminescent imaging allowing a measure of prebiotic activity.

Using a novel deoxycholoyl-luciferin (DCL) probe, the researchers investigated potential influence of two prebiotics, inulin and FOS, on BSH activity directly in vivo. They confirmed this first example that prebiotics alone are capable of increasing BSH activity of healthy intact gut microbiome directly in vivo and further confirmed the interplay between dietary fibers and important functions of gut microbiome. They also indicated that previously reported BSH increase of probiotic/prebiotic synbiotic applications in some cases could be explained by direct effect of prebiotics alone.