The main aim of our research group is to develop a better understanding of the structural factors that control the breakdown of starch throughout the digestive tract. We want to understand how this links to health, including through interactions with the microbiome. We aim to create starch based future foods that have controlled glucose release profiles, that can deliver positive health benefits.
Our knowledge will inform ingredient choice and modified processing to develop new foods that can help with blood sugar control for diabetics, and which deliver food structures to the colon that can help reshape our microbiome, promoting beneficial bacterial species and the production of metabolites that can regulate appetite and insulin response.
We use a wide range of physical techniques for characterising starch structure including DSC, SEC, FACE, FTIR, light and electron microscopy, XRD and SAXS/WAXS. We have access to a range of models of the human digestive tract including static kinetic models, the Dynamic Gastric Model and model colon systems.