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Food for thought

Connect, no. 145, November - December 2006, p.8

The mechanical digestive system
The mechanical digestive system

A combined effort is underway between TWI and the Institute of Food Research to develop an in vitro model of the human digestive system. The model is a 'state of the art' system that simulates human digestion for the first time from a true physiological perspective. The work has brought together expertise across a range of TWI departments including mechanical design, software development and manufacturing.

It is the only model developed to combine emerging knowledge of the physical, mechanical, and biomechanical environments experienced during digestion. The model is separated into two sections. The first is the main body of the stomach, where food is subjected to acid and enzyme digestion. The second section, the lower stomach, subjects food to shear forces that mechanically break it down further.

The model stomach will be used to evaluate novel and existing foodstuffs, diets and pharmaceutical preparations. It will be used in the development of food safety, drug development, food characterisation, and food structure studies.

For more information, contact damien.kirkpatrick@twi.co.uk

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