Home pagePress monitoringScientists discover fat-blocking effect of nanofibers

Scientists discover fat-blocking effect of nanofibers

Date: 13.8.2018 

Tiny balls of nano-sized cellulose fibres added to food reduced fat absorption by up to half in laboratory and animal experiments, report scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Harvard University, United States. 
Kredit: NTU Singapore.

This discovery could aid in the global battle against obesity, as experiments done in a simulated gastrointestinal tract showed that nanocellulose fibres 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair could cut fat absorption by up to 48 percent.

In animal experiments, rats fed with heavy cream containing nanocellulose absorbed 36 percent less fat than rats fed with heavy cream alone. Associate Professor Joachim Loo and Associate Professor Ng Kee Woei from NTU's School of Materials Science and Engineering, together with senior author of the study, Associate Professor Philip Demokritou from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health discovered how nanocellulose can bind and trap fat molecules known as triglycerides.

Typically, digestive enzymes in the gut will break down triglycerides into fatty acids, which are absorbed by the small intestines and converted to fat by the human body. However, when triglycerides are trapped in nanocellulose fibres, comparable to oil trapped in cotton balls, enzymes involved in breaking down triglycerides for fat absorption are less effective, thus reducing the amount of fatty acids that can be absorbed by the body.

Published in the scientific journal ACS Nano in June, this new method of using nanocellulose fibres as fat blockers has been granted a US provisional patent, jointly filed by Harvard and NTU.

 


 

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