The investigation of food digestion from the perspective of process engineering, regarding the physical and chemical process of digestion, has been increasingly concerned. With a thorough understanding of the digestion process, the functionality of food can be better defined and interpreted, which will lead to the rational design of food and food processing.
The aim of the project is to investigate the physical and chemical break-down of food in the digestive system, and the performance of digestive enzyme in the food matrices. Future research will be oriented to the in-depth understanding of the phenomenon and mechanism of digestion in the dynamic micro scale, and eventually lead to designing better food for target groups. For instance, designing food that creates satiety for a longer time will benefit obese people, while creating food structures that are easier to digest which will be suitable for tackling the malnutrition problem in elderly people.
A simulated gastric system was designed (Figure 1) and improvement is in progress. Different food structures varying from designed food matrices model to daily food will be investigated. Analysis methods include dry matter analysis, protein assay, microscopy and more.
Figure 1 Simulated Gastric System: U-stomacher