Tharakan, Ajay (2009)
Eng.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Chemical and physical processing in the small intestine is an important step for food digestion and absorption. Having reviewed the literature, a relevant model has been developed which enabled investigation into the fluid flow, mixing mechanisms and delivery of nutrients to the wall of the model small intestine. Designing, developing and using the Small Intestinal Model (SIM), a physical model of a section of the small intestine, mimicking the physiological contractions, allowed mass transfer to be measured using different process conditions and ingredients. Experiments were carried out using the SIM to study mass transfer, starch digestion and flow visualisation. While simulating the small intestinal flow profile, experiments have shown that the functional ingredient guar gum reduces the mass transfer coefficient of the model nutrient riboflavin. This together with computational modelling suggests an explanation for the observed functionality of guar gum to reduce the peak increase in blood glucose levels after ingestion of test meals. Industrial implications are to give a scientific and engineered design methodology for novel food formulations by understanding the food product behaviour in the SIM. Optimisation of formulation candidates going to the human trial stage and improvement of speed to market of new product introductions is intended.
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