- Progress - Artificial stomach
A machine which works as an accurate working model of a human stomach has been developed by researchers at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich.
The Dynamic Gastric Model mimics key processes taking place in the stomach, including the complex biochemical conditions and gastric forces.
The scientists developed the machine to help them study human digestion.
The machine, which took more than 10 years to build, will also be used to test medicines in the digestive system.
'Very complicated organ'
Makers hope the tool will act as an ethical alternative to animal testing in the pharmaceutical industry.
"Everyone thinks of the stomach as just a bag full of fluids and enzymes, but it's a very complicated organ and this machine replicates those complexities exactly," said Martin Stocks, spokesman for Plant Biosciences Ltd which is marketing the product.
"It was originally devised for the food science community as a tool to look at how food is processed by the stomach.
"But its most valuable utility has turned out to be for the pharmaceutical industry to examine how drug formulations work when they are taken into the stomach.
"This is very definitely a world first and we are currently focused on developing this aspect of the market."