Mass Transfer and Nutrient Absorption in a Simulated Model of Small Intestine

A Tharakan, Ian Norton, Peter Fryer, Serafim Bakalis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

91 Citations (Scopus)


There is an increasing need to understand how food formulations behave in vivo from both food and pharma industries. A number of models have been proposed for the stomach, but few are available for the other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. An experimental rig that simulates the segmentation motion occurring in the small intestine has been developed. The objective of developing such an experimental apparatus was to study mass transport phenomena occurring in the lumen and their potential effect on the concentration of species available for absorption. When segmentation motion was applied the mass transfer coefficient in the lumen side was increased up to a factor of 7. The viscosity of the lumen, as influenced by guar gum concentration, had a profound effect on the mass transfer coefficient. The experimental model was also used to demonstrate that glucose available for absorption, resulting from starch hydrolysis, can be significantly reduced by altering the lumen viscosity. Results suggest that absorption of nutrients could be controlled by mass transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E339-E346
JournalJournal of Food Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010


  • in vitro model
  • nutrient
  • digestion


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