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CSIRO deal to commercial 'artificial gut' for the food industry

12 June, 2009

CSIRO Food Futures National Research Flagship and Australian company Stadvis Pty Ltd have signed a worldwide license agreement to commercialise an automated instrument that accurately predicts glycemic index (GI) and resistant starch (RS) in food products.

The machine will provide the food industry with an accurate means of testing the functional properties and potential human health benefits of new foods that is much quicker and more cost-effective than the current in vivo (human) method.

The GI and RS Analyser is the first of its kind in the world. The prototype works by mimicking the human digestion process and was originally developed to test the properties of new grains being developed by the Flagship.

“Its principal purpose is to help food manufacturers develop a wider range of healthy food products far more cheaply and quickly than possible previously. It can also be used to screen germplasm for functional grain attributes,” Dr Lee said.

Dr Bruce Lee, Director of the Food Futures Flagship, said this commercialisation agreement will help address the growing global demand for foods with defined health benefits through low GI and higher fibre content – particularly resistant starch.

“With the growing problem of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Australia and around the world, there is increasing demand for low GI and foods high in resistant starch. Consumers need greater access to products with appropriate health benefits, and we believe this new GI and RS predictor will help achieve that goal,” he said.

CSIRO awarded the license to commercialise the machine following an open Expression of Interest announcement by the CSIRO. Stadvis Managing Director, Phillip Clancy, said the new instrument will be a valuable addition to his company’s portfolio.

“Stadvis is pleased to have won the opportunity to partner with CSIRO to bring this technology to market. The new device will be marketed to food manufacturing companies and laboratories around the world,” he said.

Until now predicting GI involved feeding the test food to a number of human volunteers and taking regular blood samples over the following hours to monitor changing blood sugar levels.

This new machine can replace this expensive and time consuming process in the development phase of products, leaving the standard in vivo (human) test to the final stage of food development and labelling procedures.

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