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Development and application of an in vitro physicochemical upper gastrointestinal system (IPUGS) simulating the human digestive processes

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posted on 19.01.2017, 03:09 by Yoo, Ji Yeon
Increased and combined knowledge of food processing, molecular biology, health and nutrition has triggered production of many different types of functional foods and pharmaceutics recently. The efficacy and safety of such products are being assessed prior to marketing by in vivo and/or in vitro studies. Traditional in vivo studies require excessive time, cost and labour, as well as ethical approvals with subject to humans or animals in some instances. Therefore excessive number of runs may be avoided if reliable in vitro system is available. During the course of this study, an in vitro physicochemical upper gastrointestinal tract system (IPUGS), the first of its kind in literature, has been developed to simulate the relevant conditions of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) as closely as possible to the human physiology with multi-disciplinary approach, combining biology, physiology, gastroenterology, process technology, chemical engineering and automation. The IPUGS is aimed at having a high predictive capability towards the real digestion processes occurring in the human upper GIT which allows for examining of the bioavailability of nutrients and drugs, drug-nutrient interactions, viability of probiotics and case studies of gastrointestinal disorders. Digestion of rice and baby foods have been studied with the IPUGS by UV-spectrophotometer, HPLC, light microscope and pH meter under the conditions of normal state and common gastric disorders, such as gastroparesis, dumping syndrome, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and hypochlorhydria. By comparing the data from many physiological and clinical sources in the literature, it would seem that the IPUGS was able to generate more reliable data compared to the existing in vitro digestion (mechanical) models in the literature. In future, computer-controlled and computer-recorded data by possibly designing a new software or equations would be desirable to implicate a better understanding of the digestive processes.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Chen, Xiao Dong

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Chemical Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Engineering