The bioactivity & nutrition group at INRAE-STLO is one of the world leading team on food digestion. In order to study food digestion, the BN team has developed a range of models that is quite unique in the world including static in vitro models (with protocols for the infant, adult and elderly), dynamic in vitro models (infant, adult, elderly), animal models (piglets, mini-pigs, conventional pigs that can be equipped with cannulas and catheters by surgery) and in silico models. The team is also able to perform clinical trials in cooperation with hospitals and human nutrition units. For characterizing digested food, a multi-scale process has been developed that allows the characterization of digested food at the molecular scale (quantification of proteins, peptides, amino acids, different classes of lipids…), at the microscopic scale (confocal microscopy with specific labelling, laser-light scattering technologies) and at the macroscopic scale (rheological properties). The research group has also a technological platform allowing to design food (mainly dairy, egg-based and plant products) in highly controlled conditions. The BN team has been working on food digestion and nutrient bioavailability for more than 12 years and has released more than 120 peer-reviewed articles on that topic and given more than 50 invited international conferences. More recently, the BN team has started three new research projects on the digestion of alternative proteins (mainly plant proteins) and their amino acids bioavailability. Finally, Didier DUPONT, the leader of the bioactivity & nutrition group is also, since 2011, the coordinator of INFOGEST, the international network on food digestion that gathers more than 540 scientists from different disciplines (food science, nutrition, gastroenterology, applied maths…) coming from 150 institutes in 45 countries. One of the main activities of the network is the harmonization of digestion models at the international level.
The BN group is involved in SYSTEMIC WP3 and participate actively to Task 3.1 Food composition and new sources and Task 3.2. Bioavailability (food digestion and transport)