Digestion of starch in a dynamic small intestinal model

M. R. Jaime-Fonseca, O. Gouseti, P. J. Fryer, M. S.J. Wickham, S. Bakalis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The rate and extent of starch digestion have been linked with important health aspects, such as control of obesity and type-2 diabetes. In vitro techniques are often used to study digestion and simulated nutrient absorption; however, the effect of gut motility is often disregarded. The present work aims at studying fundamentals of starch digestion, e.g. the effect of viscosity on digestibility, taking into account both biochemical and engineering (gut motility) parameters. Methods: New small intestinal model (SIM) that realistically mimics gut motility (segmentation) was used to study digestibility and simulated oligosaccharide bio accessibility of (a) model starch solutions; (b) bread formulations. First, the model was compared with the rigorously mixed stirred tank reactor (STR). Then the effects of enzyme concentration/flow rate, starch concentration, and digesta viscosity (addition of guar gum) were evaluated. Results: Compared to the STR, the SIM showed presence of lag phase when no digestive processes could be detected. The effects of enzyme concentration and flow rate appeared to be marginal in the region of mass transfer limited reactions. Addition of guar gum reduced simulated glucose absorption by up to 45 % in model starch solutions and by 35 % in bread formulations, indicating the importance of chyme rheology on nutrient bioaccessibility. Conclusions: Overall, the work highlights the significance of gut motility in digestive processes and offers a powerful tool in nutritional studies that, additionally to biochemical, considers engineering aspects of digestion. The potential to modulate food digestibility and nutrient bioaccessibility by altering food formulation is indicated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2377-2388
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Early online date19 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Dynamic in vitro models
  • Intestinal motility
  • Simulated glucose bioaccessibility
  • Starch digestion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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