The “artificial gut” is a robotic device that sits on a bench and can simultaneously process multiple food samples to give GI and resistant starch (RS) readings.
“This instrument will be a valuable tool for manufacturers as they develop new formulations and processes to make the products which consumers need,”
Said Dr David Topping, chief research scientist at the CSIRO’s Food Futures National Research Flagship.
“This instrument will be a valuable tool for manufacturers as they develop new formulations and processes to make the products which consumers need. The new device will make preliminary testing quicker, easier and more cost-effective, thus accelerating the path to market for these new foods.”
Topping said the machine would help address demand for healthy foods, especially those defined through low GI and higher RS content.
CSIRO said the artificial gut could save companies time and money via in vivo trials that were no longer necessary.
“The device has been validated as a rapid and reliable predictor of the GI and RS content of foods,” the CSIRO stated. “Its principal purpose is to help food manufacturers develop a wider range of healthy food products far more cheaply and quickly than possible previously.”
CSIRO said it had tested a broad range of commercial foods “with a wide spectrum of GI and RS values” that were “benchmarked against ‘gold standard’ human-based tests on the same foods.”
The Melbourne-based Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute said his team had worked with CSIRO to validate results obtained from the device.
“With the growing epidemic of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, both in Australia and around the world, there is increasing demand for low GI and high RS foods,” said Baker associate director and associate professor, Jonathan Shaw.
“Consumers really need greater access to products with appropriate health benefits, and we believe this new GI and RS predictor will help achieve that goal. The CSIRO’s device looks promising in predicting GI and, once commercialised, it could play an important role in making a wider range of health-promoting foods available.”
CSIRO initiated National Research Flagships to provide science-based solutions in response to Australia’s major research challenges and opportunities.