Artificial bowel for human microbial testing created by MIT researchers

As proof that intestinal microbiomes are becoming increasingly important in the scientific and biomedical fields, a team of researchers at the Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is implementing a new project to create what the press release calls the “ideal artificial intestine.”

Today, in fact, many studies of the intestine, and especially the trillion bacteria in it, cannot be done because it is impossible to test on a model that looks like a real analogue. Artificial platforms, which today imitate the human intestines, are not actually accurate and are not cheap at all. This means that many laboratories cannot afford it.

MIT researchers are trying a new way: they will try to mimic, at least in part, the great complexity of the human intestines, including all those conditions that must be present to survive and test bacterial samples. Growing a microbiomal sample and keeping it alive in a laboratory is a feat that no one has yet been able to accomplish, reminds David Walsh of the Group of Biological and Chemical Technologies, one of the scientists who led this group.

They have already built a platform of permeable silicone rubber with various parts made of other plastics, including polystyrene, all relatively inexpensive and easily manufactured.
The platform is based on oxygen and other slime control components, another important element that allows bacteria to reproduce in the intestine.

“The final system will allow us to face real-world problems,” says Walsh himself, who suggests that this new system will allow us to take new steps forward and to understand the strong connection between the intestine itself and the brain.