Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) are formed from the fermentation of sugars by intestinal bacteria. Acetate is the most abundant SCFA, with lower amounts of propionate and butyrate formed. Propionate and butyrate are also formed from the products of carbohydrate fermentation by other bacteria, for example from lactate and acetate. SCFA play a role in regulating transit of digesta through the intestine, and butyrate formation is thought to be beneficial to health because butyrate decreases the risk of colon cancer. Major butyrate-producing species are among the most abundant present in the colon, including Roseburia and Faecalibacterium spp. Metabolism of longer-chain fatty acids occurs mainly by hydration or hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids. Hydroxystearic acids are formed in the intestine, particularly under disease conditions. Metabolism of linoleic acid results in the formation of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) by several species, including Roseburia hominis and Roseburia inulinovorans. Enhancement of intestinal CLA formation, possibly using probiotics, may be useful in preventing or treating inflammatory bowel disease.