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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Mimicking the gastrointestinal digestion in a lab-on-a-chip:the microdigester

micro digester
By combining food and miniaturization knowledge, INRA researchers in UR BIA (Nantes, France) designed a lab-on-a-chip dedicated to gastrointestinal digestion studies at the micrometer scale. This device has already been used to monitor the digestion of lipid droplets in the presence of proteins. A real-time microscopy analysis provided similar results compared to those obtained in a test tube, but was much faster since it did not require further titrations on samples. This system opens up new prospects for studying the digestion of micronutrients.

At the junction of chemistry, physics and biology, digestion involves many processes. Studying the mechanisms in such a complex system is challenging because numerous interactions coexist. Even in an apparently simple system such as an emulsion, many physicochemical characteristics affect lipid digestion. Moreover, these characteristics are difficult to control using conventional in vitro techniques. The goal of this work was to design a microfluidic device allowing the study of well-controlled individual oil droplets under gastrointestinal digestion conditions. Different parameters were investigated in order to validate the relevance of this device compared to conventional in vitro techniques using emulsions. Various triglycerides and digestion conditions were tested with droplets of the same initial diameter generated by a flow focusing device, then placed in individual traps of a microfluidic chamber for digestion with continuous digestive juice renewal. The results are in good agreement with those obtained with conventional in vitro techniques and open the way to screening of lipid digestion, in particular, bioaccessibility of lipophilic molecules, a prerequisite for  bioavailability studied in nutrition, pharmacology, and toxicology.

microfluidic digestion

Intestinal digestion of a drop of olive oil over time

 

See also

Référence :

S. Marze, H. Algaba, M. Marquis, 2014 “A microfluidic device to study the digestion of trapped lipid droplets“ Food and Function5, 1481.