The different chemical properties of the various components of dietary fiber make it quite challenging to determine the fiber content of various plants and foods. Early methods for isolating dietary fiber commonly destroyed many of the water-soluble components of the fiber matrix. The term crude fiber is used to describe fiber content determined by an acid and alkali extraction. A rapid, reliable method of determining total dietary fiber content (water soluble and insoluble) has been recommended by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC). This methodology combines gravimetric and enzymatic processes and is appropriate for measuring dietary fiber content of foods for labeling purposes. Analysis of the individual components of dietary fiber is much more complex. The best known procedure, developed by Southgate (1), removes the individual fractions of dietary fiber through a series of extractions. The addition of gas liquid or liquid chromatography allows for the identification of individual sugars present in each fraction.

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