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Ashkan Madadlou

Science and Technology of Milk and Eggs, Inra Rennes, France

Food carriers to restore digestion in the elderly (scientific report)

Annual meeting: 2019

Fields-Topics: P4 Nutrition,P5 Products and Technology

Type of talk: Fellows Speed Presentation

Food carriers to restore digestion in the elderly (scientific report)


I obtained BSc (in 2003), MSc (in 2005) and PhD (in 2009) degrees in Agricultural Engineering-Food Science and Technology. After obtaining my master’s degree, I was recruited by Urmia University (Iran) as lecturer for 1 year; then, I started doctorate. Subsequent to doctoral education, I worked as research assistant professor in Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (Tehran) since March 2010 till March 2013, after which I joined to the Food Science Department of the University of Tehran as assistant professor till 2017.I received the University of Tehran award for excellence in research as both PhD student (in 2009) and young faculty member (in 2016). Although I have been working on diverse research fields, I am still extremely thirsty to expand my knowledge to more pioneering and cutting-edge activities which could result in high-tech and knowledge-based applications.


Food carriers to restore digestion in the elderly (scientific report)

Malnutrition is a main cause of morbidity and mortality of elderly people. It is partly caused by the inadequate digestion and absorption of nutrients due to exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). Delivery of pancreatic enzymes to duodenum and proximal jejunum, especially lipase is an efficient way to restitute normal nutrient absorption. The objective of the present project was to develop an edible water-in-water emulsion that encapsulates lipase, crosses the stomach and delivers the cargo into the upper small intestine to boost fat digestion.

Formation of aqueous two-phase system (ATPS) emulsions relies on the immiscibility of two (bio)polymeric phases. Therefore, we developed a facile method using food-grade ingredients to hydrophobize whey proteins, which made the proteins immiscible with a co-charged polysaccharide (i.e. alginate) solution.

The developed emulsion was gelified by adding glucono -lactone or a combination of calcium carbonate and glucono -lactone. The gelled emulsion had a higher modulus than analogues protein (alginate-free) gels, which was ascribed, based on confocal microscopy images, to micro-phase separation of alginate droplets and the droplets crowding in the protein-rich matrix.  Rheological analysis also indicated that hydrophobization and erythritol addition increased the gelation time of whey proteins and decreased the of the produced protein (alginate-free) gel, when compared to heat-denatured protein.

Finally, an ATPS emulsion was produced at which a pancreatic lipase was encapsulated within protein droplets emulsified in an alginate-continuous phase. The emulsion was gelified and was subjected toin vitrogastro-intestinal digestion tests. Alginate gel prevented the release of lipase in the stomach condition but burst released the enzyme in the small intestine. The emulsion shows a great potential for the delivery of pancreatic lipase to elderly people and patients with EPI.

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