New methods of measurement gut health @Food Valley ExpoPublished: 22-10-2015, | Member: NIZO
NIZO food research is developing new methods of measurement to study how gut microbiota work. Alwine Kardinaal, Gut Health & Immunity work group leader at NIZO food research, presented an innovative, non-invasive method for taking microbiota samples from the small intestine at Food Valley Expo 2015.
The new method makes use of a small, capsule-shaped instrument called an IntelliCap. The capsule, measuring 11 x 26 mm, was originally developed by Philips-spinoff Medimetrics to deliver small amounts of medication to precisely defined locations in the intestines.
Medimetrics collaborated with NIZO food research and Wageningen UR to adapt the design to make it suitable for studying gut microbiota composition and functioning. The redesigned capsule includes an aspirator and software. Once the IntelliCap arrives in the small intestine, the pump is activated and starts taking samples from the gut contents. Throughout the IntelliCap’s in-body journey it communicates with a mobile device carried by the test subject. The capsule continually transfers temperature, pH level and other data. The contents of the capsule are stabilized while still in the test subject’s body, in preparation for analysis once it has been expelled.
The new method is a great tool for exploring gut health, according to Kardinaal. Preliminary data suggest that the capsule can be used to detect the impact of diet on microbiota composition. The method has a greater power to distinguish changes in microbiota content than stool sample analyses. The method is also less unpleasant as compared to intubation, which was the only way to obtain samples from the small intestine in healthy subjects.