Teagasc at BTYSTE: Digesting the research
Teagasc is at the virtual BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) 2022. Muireann Egan and Catriona Boyle give us an insight into digestion and the research of Teagasc food scientists as part of the event this week. Visit the Teagasc stand right here
Our bodies requires fuel to function. When we eat food, we get energy from digesting carbohydrates, fats and proteins. On top of that, different types of food have a range of vitamins and minerals that help the immune system and give us healthy skin, hair and bones.
Food scientists at Teagasc study food digestion and the release of these important nutrients into the bloodstream. Studies on the human digestive system can be invasive, expensive and difficult. Instead, we are using a lab experiment that mimics the human gut using common lab equipment and chemicals.
Our scientists are looking at how different foods are digested and analysing the end products like sugars, fatty acids and amino acids (the building blocks of protein). For example, they are currently studying whether plant-based foods are digested in a similar manner to dairy or meat. In particular, they want to know how much of the protein in plant-based foods can be digested, absorbed into the bloodstream and delivered to where it is needed.
Conor Fitzpatrick is a Walsh Scholar at Teagasc Moorepark where he studies the digestion of fat and protein molecules. In the video below Conor talks about his research which uses common lab equipment to mimic the reactions that take place in our digestive system and test a variety of foods.
Teagasc – the Agriculture and Food Development Authority – is the national body providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities in Ireland.
Every year we have a stand at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE). BTYSTE 2022 takes place from January 12th to 14th. The Teagasc Virtual Stand can be visited at BTYSTE 2022 here.
We also have a Teagasc prize, awarded to the student project in the main exhibition area that best demonstrates a thorough understanding of the science of agricultural or food production, or the use of science to improve technologies available to agricultural or food production.
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