Future Perspectives and Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Research on Food Digestion

  • Gail M. BornhorstEmail author


In the last few decades, research in the area of food digestion has dramatically increased, due to public interest in the links between food consumption and health or disease. However, there are still opportunities for future advances in this area, many of which involve interdisciplinary research. These future opportunities must involve a combination of in vivo, in vitro, and in silico approaches in order to bring about transformational advances in the field of food digestion. For example, future in vivo studies may include increased use of noninvasive imaging and use of ingestible sensors in human studies, as well as integration of results from human and animal studies using a “one-health” approach. Future in vitro studies must be standardized across the food digestion community, with the complementary development of “near-real” type of digestion models as well as simple, widely applicable systems. Prior to their widespread adoption, these in vitro model systems must undergo rigorous in vitro-in vivo correlations with data from human and animal studies. Future in vitro and in silico studies may be personalized to represent the stomach or intestines from a certain patient, based on noninvasive images of that patient. In silico studies will need to incorporate more complexity in terms of solid food breakdown, secretions, and movement throughout the gastrointestinal tract to provide information that may assist in future food product development. In order to pursue these opportunities, it is necessary to take an interdisciplinary approach, involving collaboration between food scientists, nutritionists, biological and chemical engineers, electrical engineers, veterinarians, and medical doctors. Development of interdisciplinary collaborations will allow for an increase in evidence-based advances in our understanding of food digestion and the impact of food on health and disease.


Conclusions Future perspectives Noninvasive imaging Ingestible sensors In vitro digestion models In silico breakdown modeling Interdisciplinary 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biological and Agricultural EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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