In vitro techniques allow the rapid determination of activity, interactions, digestibility and potentially available bioactive components in food and ingredients. This can help to point to the potential impacts they may have on human health.
Detailed protocols are developed in dialogue with our clients and draw from our full portfolio to tailor our services to meet the exact requirement.

Depending on the nature of the study, elements from our Metabolic Testing and Weight Management range of services can be included. Some of our services include:

Antioxidant Analysis
Antioxidants are known to protect tissues against damage caused by oxygen free radicals and lipid peroxidation and so food containing antioxidants are beneficial to our diet.
Using lab testing we can determine the total antioxidant capacity of your food product using FRAP (for reducing antioxidants) and DPPH (for free radical scavengers).

Our FRAP (Ferric-ion reducing antioxidant power) method is a modification of the FRAP assay of Benzie and Strain (1996). Using spectrophotometric absorption we can detect a colour change linked to the redox reaction which occurs between the antioxidants and reagents. This is a non-specific reaction and means that the change in absorbance detected is directly related to the ‘total’ reducing power of the electron donating antioxidants in the reaction mixture.

Our DPPH ((2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl)) inhibition assay is a modification of the Brand-Williams et al. (1995) method and measures the free radical scavenging activity. DPPH is a radical and is an intense purple colour which turns colourless as antioxidants react with the unpaired electrons and this colour change is measured by spectrophotometry.
Polyphenol Analysis
Polyphenols are antioxidants which may also have beneficial effects beyond antioxidant abilities such as their involvement in cellular signalling, anti-inflammatory properties and enhancing endothelial function.

To determine the total polyphenol content we use the Folin-Ciocalteau method, a colorimetric assay based on the reduction of metal oxides in the Folin-Ciocalteau reagent to produce a blue colour which can be detected by spectrophotometric assay. The resulting colour change is proportional to the concentration of polyphenols present in the extraction mixture.

If you are looking for very specific polyphenols we can explore the option of using HPLC as a method of detection.

We have completed a considerable amount of testing on the polyphenol content in a variety of foods and drinks.
In Vitro Digestion
The in vitro method for analysing the digestibility of foods containing carbohydrate constitutes oral, gastric and intestinal phases of digestion. We test based on the method by Woolnough et al. (2008).

The advantages of in vitro digestion assays are that they are fast and cost-efficient and help to determine the effect of specific food components on starch digestion. Although it is not possible to exactly determine the simultaneous effect of digestion and absorption of nutrients happening in vivo, the in vitro assays are reported to be able to classify food carbohydrates as rapid and slow digestion carbohydrates. Digestibility of starch determines the rate at which free sugars (glucose and maltose) are released into the gut for absorption. Rapidly digested starch (RDS) is defined as starch digested during the first 20 min of in vitro digestion and slowly digested starch (SDS) is measured between 20 and 120 min of in vitro digestion.

Rapidly digested starch has been shown to predict the glycaemic response to cereal foods. A strong correlation has been reported between glycaemic indices of meals determined in vivo, and the ratio of rapid carbohydrate digestion rate and slow carbohydrate digestion rate from in vitro digestion assays.
Sensory Evaluation
Sensory evaluation measures the sensory characteristics of taste, smell, sight, touch and sound of a test product.

We have sensory booths and can conduct testing with computational software to be able to tailor each study to your preferences. We can run large scale consumer testing giving detailed feedback on product palatability and acceptability
Bioavailability is the key to nutritional efficiency and from the total intake of food a lower amount is processed and used for storage and metabolic functions. This is a key term for nutritional effectiveness, as not all the amounts of bioactive compounds are used effectively in the body. For example, when food is eaten, interaction in the mouth or gut can effect bioavailability of the compound to the person. These tests measure how much of the nutrient within a food product is available for absorption after digestion.
Bioaccessibility is defined as the quantity of a compound that is released from a food in the gastrointestinal tract, becoming available for absorption into the bloodstream. This includes when foods are digested and that makes the nutrients available for absorption. These tests can measure how available a nutrient within a food product is for utilisation by the body after digestion and absorption.

Accurate testing by expert scientists

If you wish to have further information on any of the above testing or  have any other services that are required and not listed please do get in touch.