In Vitro Digestion

Do you need to know a molecule's liberation profile?

Do you have to determine whether or not a probiotic will survive in the digestive tube?

The impact of digestion and microbiota on health ingredients and functional foods is a fundamental issue since many aspects of digestion can affect whether or not a molecule is beneficial. INAF's in vitro digestion platform uses a number of high-tech devices that allow you to do the following:

  • document the negative effects of digestion on the effectiveness of an active component
  • find out the proportion of assimilated molecules
  • identify the metabolites produced during digestion
  • select the best galenic formula
  • see the effects of joint food intake
  • determine the influence of a component or its derivatives on intestinal bacteria

Réalisés à une fraction du coût des études cliniques, ces tests vous permettront entres autres de cibler la dose optimale pour une éventuelle étude humaine, d'identifier lequel parmi vos différents produits pourrait s’avérer le plus prometteur ou encore, de générer des données afin d’obtenir une approbation des instances en santé gouvernementales nécessaires pour une étude clinique.

Areas of expertise

  • Dietary fibre
  • Probiotics
  • Proteins and peptide functionality
  • Sports nutrition
  • Antioxidants
  • Gastro-intestinal health
  • Bacterial infections


  • TIM1 is used to dynamically simulate the digestive conditions in the stomach and small intestine.
  • The multiple fermenter system allows you to simulate the conditions in the large intestine using ImmoGut technology.
  • The controlled atmosphere incubator  is used to manipulate probiotics or intestinal bacteria in anaerobic conditions.
  • The Real-time PCR   you to count the number of a specific bacterial type or species found in a mixed sample.

In Canada, INAF is the only laboratory to have TIM1 and ImmoGut (immobilized intestinal microbiota) technology. What's more, our expertise in molecular biology allows us to selectively quantify, in real-time, the number of live bacteria found in a digested sample.

À qui s'adressent ces services ?

Ce service s’adresse à toutes compagnies œuvrant dans le domaine alimentaire ou pharmaceutique (ingrédients santé, aliments fonctionnels, etc.).

What we offer

Stomach and small intestine simulation

  • Non-digestible dietary fibre
  • Liberation of nutrients contained in a matrix
  • Solubility and/or digestibility of molecules
  • Level and speed of assimilation of health ingredients
  • Biomolecule stability and activity
  • Probiotic survival rate
  • Liberation profile of encapsulated health ingredients
  • Safety of new health ingredients
  • Impacts of an enzymatic supplement on the assimilation of molecules

Large intestine simulation

  • Effects of dietary fibre on intestinal bacteria
  • Impact of probiotics on enteric pathogen strains
  • Influence of a health ingredient on intestinal bacteria
  • Effect of antimicrobial molecules on intestinal bacteria

If you’re a Canadian company, NSERC's Engage Grants program allow you to set up a collaboration between an industry expert and a researcher with the goal of resolving the company's specific problems. This grant, totalling $25,000, gives Canada-based companies access to the unique knowledge and expertise found at eligible Canadian universities. Learn more about how to apply for an Engage Grant. With this partnership, the industry expert is under no obligation to pay in cash to complete the project.




The in vitro digestion platform is supervised by our research professional specialized in the fields of food, fermentation, probiotics, dietary fibre, intestinal bacteria and molecular biology. This specialist oversees preclinical tests using TIM1 and our multiple fermenter system.

For all of our collaborative industry partnerships, our specialist is paired with an INAF researcher who provides high-level scientific expertise for the project.

Depending on the nature of the project, a wide range of complementary services are available, including analytical services, cellular and animal models and
 clinical studies.


Example of possible projects

Example of possible projects

Development of green tea cereals enriched with dietary fibre with doses of probiotics.


Real projects

Real projects


  • Digestibility and Prebiotic Properties of Potato Rhamnogalacturonan I Polysaccharide and Its Galactose-Rich Oligosaccharides/Oligomers Carbohydrate Polymers, 2015, 136, pp 1074-1084.
  • Bioaccessibility and Digestive Stability of Carotenoids in Cooked Eggs Studied Using a Dynamic in Vitro Gastrointestinal Model, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2015, 63 (11), pp 2956–2962.
  • Bioaccessible Antioxidants in Milk Fermented by Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum Strains, BioMed Research International, 2015, 12 pages.
  • Bacteriocinogenic Properties and in Vitro probiotic Potential of Enterococci from Tunisian Dairy Products, Arch. Micobiol., 2014, 196(5), 331-344.
  • Comparison of Nitrogen Bioaccessibility from Salmon and Whey Protein Hydrolysates using a Human Gastrointestinal Model (TIM-1), Functional Foods in Health and Disease, 2014, 4(5), pp 222-231.
  • Pediococcus acidilactici UL5 and Lactococcus lactis ATCC 11454 Are Able to Survive and Express their Bacteriocin Genes under Simulated Gastrointestinal Conditions. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2013, 116(3), pp 677-688.
  • In Vitro Digestion of Proteins and Growth Factors in a Bovine Whey Protein Extract as Determined Using a Computer-Controlled Dynamic Gastrointestinal System (TIM-1), Journal Food Digestion, 2011, 2, pp 13-22.
  • Study of the Physicochemical and Biological Stability of Pediocin PA-1 in the Upper Gastrointestinal Tract Conditions using a Dynamic in Vitro Model, Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2010, 109, pp 54-64.
    Viability of Probiotic Bacteria in Maple Sap Products under Storage and Gastrointestinal Conditions, Bioresource Technology, 2010, 101, pp 7966-7972.


  • Digestibility and Prebiotic Properties of Potato Rhamnogalacturonan I Polysaccharide and Its Galactose-Rich Oligosaccharides/Oligomers Carbohydrate Polymers, 2015, 136, pp 1074-1084.
  • Survival and Metabolic Activity of Pediocin Producer Pediococcus acidilactici UL5: Its Impact on Intestinal Microbiota and Listeria monocytogenes in a Model of the Human Terminal Ileum, Microbial Ecology, 2015.
  • Growth, Acid Production and Bacteriocin Production by Probiotic Candidates under Simulated Colonic Conditions, Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2013, 114, pp 877-885.
  • Stability and Inhibitory Activity of Pediocin PA-1 Against Listeria sp. in Simulated Physiological Conditions of the Human Terminal Ileum, Probiotics & Antimicrobial Proteins, 2012, 4, pp 250-258.
  • New three-stage in vitro model for infant colonic fermentation with immobilized fecal microbiota, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 2006, 57, pp 324-336.
  • Immobilization of Infant Fecal Microbiota and Utilization in an in vitro Colonic Fermentation Model, Microbiology Ecology, 2004, 48, pp 128-138.