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A computer-controlled system to simulate conditions of the large intestine with peristaltic mixing, water absorption and absorption of fermentation products

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Author: Minekus, M. · Smeets-Peeters, M. · Havenaar, R. · Bernalier, A. · Fonty, G. · Marol-Bonnin, S. · Alric, M. · Marteau, P. · Huis Veld, J.H.J. in 't
Institution: Centraal Instituut voor Voedingsonderzoek TNO
Source:Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 1, 53, 108-114
Identifier: 235314
Keywords: Nutrition · Bifidobacterium · Clostridium · Computer system · Enterobacteriaceae · Fermentation · Intestine absorption · Intestine flora · Intestine function · Intestine motility · Lactobacillus · Large intestine · Nonhuman · Water absorption · Absorption · Bacteria · Colon · Computers · Fatty Acids · Feces · Fermentation · Humans · Peristalsis · Water · Bacteria (microorganisms) · Bifidobacterium · Clostridium · Enterobacteriaceae · Lactobacillus · Negibacteria · Posibacteria


This paper introduces a new type of system to simulate conditions in the large intestine. This system combines removal of metabolites and water with peristaltic mixing to obtain and handle physiological concentrations of microorganisms, dry matter and microbial metabolites. The system has been designed to be complementary to the dynamic multi-compartmental system that simulates conditions in the stomach and small intestine described by Minekus et al. [Minekus M, Marteau P, Havenaar R, Huis in't Veld JHJ (1995) ATLA 23:197-209]. High densities of microorganisms, comparable to those found in the colon in vivo, were achieved by absorption of water and dialysis of metabolites through hollow-fibre membranes inside the reactor compartments. The dense chyme was mixed and transported by peristaltic movements. The potential of the system as a tool to study fermentation was demonstrated in experiments with pectin, fructo-oligosaccharide, lactulose and lactitol as substrates. Parameters such as total acid production and short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) patterns were determined with time to characterize the fermentation. The stability of the microflora in the system was tested after inoculation with fresh fecal samples and after inoculation with a microflora that was maintained in a fermenter. Both approaches resulted in total anaerobic bacterial counts higher than 1010 colony-forming units/ml with physiological levels of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Enterobacteriaceae and Clostridium. The dry matter content was approximately 10%, while the total SCFA concentration was maintained at physiological concentrations with similar molar ratios for acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid as measured in vivo.