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Sponsored Content by H.E.L Group May 3 2024 Reviewed by Aimee Molineux

Microorganisms massively impact our everyday lives, with microbial cells in our bodies existing at a ratio of approximately one microbial cell for every human cell.

Image Credit: H.E.L Group

This has led to a boom in research over the past 15 years, delivering significant insights into the mix of microorganisms inhabiting the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract, their effect on health and disease, and the relationship between humans and microbes.

Research has revealed that gut microbiome (GM) varies significantly between individuals, largely depending on their diet and health status, posing a challenge for data comparison.

In vivo analysis is the preferred technique for analyzing GM. However, this method is often unfeasible, costly, time-consuming, and resource-intensive.

In vitro simulation represents a powerful alternative to in vivo analysis, and there has been a concentrated effort to standardize methodologies to guarantee reproducibility.

This article discusses recommendations for recreating the digestive process using bioreactors. Appropriate choice of system and simulation

The broad differences in gastrointestinal tract conditions mean several parameters must be accounted for, including stomach pH and colon oxygenation.

Recreating this environment with a single reactor is almost impossible. However, multi-reactor systems provide individual control of each vessel, enabling the modification of the internal physicochemical conditions and the simulation of different parts of the GI.

Tubing can connect the vessels, while peristaltic pumps can move the content between bioreactors, recreating emptying and filling processes and avoiding potential contamination.

Another consideration when designing an experiment is whether to use static or semi-dynamic models. While the former is more cost-effective and straightforward, static models can oversimplify a system. Semi-dynamic simulations recreate more realistic conditions, particularly the gastric phase, and can account for gradual acidification and fluid dynamics. Implementation of standardized digestion simulation protocols

The diversity in digestion models and parameters presents a challenge when comparing results between studies.

Collaborative frameworks, such as INFOGEST, have encouraged the creation of simulation protocols to recreate realistic scenarios informed by research results and increase the reproducibility of experiments.

Such protocols provide structured approaches to simulating gastric, intestinal, and oral digestion phases, utilizing specific substrate ratios to digestive fluids.

Enzyme activity, the rate at which an enzyme transforms a substrate or generates a product, is a vital parameter to control. Recommended values should be provided in standardized protocols and are especially important for certain enzymes, including tripsine. Control of environmental parameters

Bioreactors provide ideal conditions for microbial cultures using a combination of probes for measuring conditions.

Automation systems monitor these measurements in real-time and initiate corrective measures to address fluctuations. For instance, pH may be regulated with an acid or base solution or by injecting gases such as CO2.

An in-depth understanding of the simulated conditions is fundamental to ensure that the process is an accurate representation.

Important physicochemical parameters include temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen. Other peculiarities of the GI must also be included, particularly the addition of simulated fluids, including gastric acid, saliva, and bile salts, as well as representative enzymes, such as pepsin and lipases, that are added at precise times. Choice of appropriate biological agents

The biological agents used in the simulation, such as enzymes, microbial communities, and artificial fluids, shape the experiment’s result.

Starting with the microbial inoculum, it is important to recognize that synthetic communities are easier to control and tend to produce more consistent outcomes. Nevertheless, it is well established that microbial diversity varies between individuals. However, the different taxa's functions are believed to be conserved. Therefore, natural microbial communities better represent the complexity of the human gut microbiome when conducting studies.

Image Credit: H.E.L Group

Enzymatic mixes, such as amylases, proteases, and lipases, are used throughout simulations at various points to replicate processes in each compartment of the GI tract.

All organisms, from bacteria to mammals, produce enzymes to aid digestion. However, their reaction and activity will vary under the same physicochemical conditions. As a result, human-derived enzymes produce the best results.

In cases where such enzymes are not viable due to limited availability or high costs, porcine and bovine are preferred substitutes. Incorporation of realistic physical conditions

Temperature is a critical parameter for life, and it is essential that it is controlled in the simulations. However, many other physical factors also need to be considered and replicated for the system to be reproducible.

The human body mixes content as it passes through the digestive system. Chewing in the oral cavity shreds solid contents, providing a higher surface area before entering the body, and peristaltic movements of the smooth muscle within the GI tract increase the mixing of the food bolus. The reactors are, therefore, equipped with means such as stirrers to ensure that the conditions in the vessel are similar to those in the GI.

In the digestive system, peristaltic muscle contractions also push the bolus down, and an effective way to replicate this during the simulations is by using peristaltic pumps to transfer the content of bioreactors. Science in the golden age of the gut microbiome

In this golden age of gut microbiome research, recent advances in gastrointestinal tract simulation can help researchers understand the complex microbial ecosystems within the human body and their profound impact on human health, disease, and behavior.

Image Credit: H.E.L Group

However, more controlled studies are required to ensure reproducible and reliable data. The methodologies discussed in this article are crucial for the effective in vitro simulation of the gastrointestinal tract. The article aims to equip researchers, clinicians, and enthusiasts with the tools needed to lead the way in this dynamic field.

The aim of the golden age is to go beyond scientific discoveries and apply them to human health. These methodologies help explore and expand existing knowledge around the role of the microorganisms associated with human health and disease, leading to a healthier future. About H.E.L Group

H.E.L develops and manufactures innovative scientific instruments and software designed to optimize the efficiency, safety and productivity of key processes in chemistry and biology applications.

The H.E.L team of 70 includes highly skilled process and software engineers, based at their extensive research and manufacturing facilities in the UK, as well as sales and support offices around the world.

H.E.L has a long history of solving complex challenges for customers. Since 1987, the Company has worked with businesses and laboratories globally, providing proprietary automated solutions for the pharma, biotechnology, chemical, battery and petrochemical sectors.

We continue to extend the reach of our products and service to support and enable R&D and process optimization further across Europe, the US, China and India.

H.E.L is accredited with ISO 9001 : 2015.

Sponsored Content Policy: News-Medical.net publishes articles and related content that may be derived from sources where we have existing commercial relationships, provided such content adds value to the core editorial ethos of News-Medical.Net which is to educate and inform site visitors interested in medical research, science, medical devices and treatments.

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Dide: Masked rapper who claims to be a Premier League footballer announces first live gig

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Dide: Masked rapper who claims to be a Premier League footballer announces first live gig

Dide, the anonymous masked rapper who claims to be a Premier League footballer, has announced his first live gig.

The music star, who rose to prominence on social media last year and wears a studded black rose mask to conceal his identity, will perform in London in June.

Known only as Dide, the incognito rapper has sparked frenzied speculation about his identity, with Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson, Chelsea’s Noni Madueke, Fulham’s Alex Iwobi and West Ham’s Michail Antonio among the names thrown into the mix.

“The main thing for me is the music rather than the football player,” he told Sky News exclusively Iast year, in his first on-camera interview. “I guess fans and the public ran with all these different opinions, which is cool.”

Who is Dide? Sky News meets the mystery rapper

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October 2023: Dide speaks to Sky News

Announcing his first live show, he said: “Finally, my first live show! My first live public performance.

“I know you all have been getting on to me about doing one. You can’t miss this!”

The show will take place at The Lower Third on Denmark Street in Soho, central London, on 20 June.

Interestingly, England take on Denmark for their second group-stage match of Euro 2024 in Germany that afternoon. Could this be a reason behind his choice of venue, or coincidence?

Either way, presumably he won’t be at the match – ruling out Saka, who is in the England squad – but hopefully he’ll get to watch before he goes on stage.

However, there’s no mention of the England game in his announcement.

“Thank you for your support,” Dide added. “See you at the show.”

Read more on Sky News:
Woman, 28, paralysed after being crushed by grand piano

Man filmed ‘body slamming’ orca in New Zealand is fined

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Ahead of the gig announcement, Dide shared a video on social media announcing Energy, which could be a new track, to be released on Thursday.

“Time to peel back the layers,” he wrote alongside the clip. “Mask off.”

During our interview last year, he told Sky News his identity would be revealed in the future.

Fans will no doubt be watching to see if and when that happens.

Pre-sale tickets are available from 23 May, with general tickets on sale from 28 May.

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This ‘supercharger on wheels’ brings fast charging to you

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This 'supercharger on wheels' brings fast charging to you

Mobile car care company Yoshi Mobility just launched a DC fast charging EV mobile unit that it likens to “a supercharger on wheels.”

Yoshi Mobility saw that its existing customers needed mobile EV charging in places where infrastructure has yet to be installed, so the Nashville-based company decided to bring the mountain to Moses.

“We recognized a demand among our customers for convenient daily charging, reliable private charging networks, and proper charging infrastructure to support their fleet vehicles as they transition to electric,” said Dan Hunter, Yoshi Mobility’s chief EV officer and cofounder.

The company says its 240 kW mobile DC fast charger, which can turn “any EV” into a mobile charging unit, is the first fully electric mobile charger available. It can provide multiple charges in a single trip but doesn’t detail how they charge the DC fast charger or who manufactured it. (I’ve asked for more details.)

Yoshi is launching its mobile charger on two GM BrightDrop Zevo 600s and will introduce additional vehicles throughout 2024. It aims for full commercialization by Q1 2025. (I wonder if the Zevo 600 ever charges itself? Yes, I asked that too.)

Yoshi Mobility says it’s already deployed its EV charging solutions to service “major OEMs, autonomous vehicle companies, and rideshare operators” across the US. Its initial customers are made up of large EV operators managing “hundreds” of light-duty vehicles requiring up to 1 megawatt of energy per day that don’t yet have grid-connected EV chargers. I’ve asked Yoshi for details of who it’s working with, and will update if they share that info.

The company says pricing is based on location and enterprise charging needs. Once under contract for service, the service will be deployed to US-based customers within 10 days.

To date, Yoshi Mobility has raised more than $60 million, with investments from GM Ventures, Bridgestone, ExxonMobil, and Y-Combinator in Silicon Valley.

Read more: Mercedes-Benz just opened more DC fast chargers at Buc-ee’s in Texas


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Toyota US boss says company is ‘catching up’ on electric vehicles

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Toyota US boss says company is 'catching up' on electric vehicles

Is Toyota catching up in the US electric vehicle market? Although Toyota’s US boss, Ted Ogawa, admits it’s behind Tesla, he believes the company is “catching up” on electric vehicles and new tech.

Toyota has been among the biggest laggards in shifting to fully electric vehicles. After a rocky start (including a recall) with the launch of its first EV in the US, the bZ4X, Toyota has failed to gain traction in the market.

Of the over 2.2 million Toyota vehicles sold in the US last year, only 9,329 were all-electric, or less than 0.5%.

The trend has continued this year, with only 1,897 bZ4X models sold through March. That’s less than 0.4% of the over 486,000 Toyota vehicles sold in Q1.

Ogawa says Toyota is watching customer demand for EVs rather than regulations. “However, the BEV was our missing piece two years ago, so that’s why we were very much criticized,” Ogawa explained in a new interview with Automotive News.

After building internally over the past two years, Toyota’s US boss believes the company is “catching up” on electric vehicles and new tech.

Toyota-catching-up-electric-vehicles
2024 Toyota bZ4X (Source: Toyota)

Is Toyota catching up on electric vehicles?

For example, Ogawa said that Toyota headquarters is building a “very exclusive factory” for EVs.

The new “BEV Factory” will feature several new technologies new to Toyota. The company showed off its next-gen EV production line last year with Giga casting, a process made popular by Tesla.

Toyota-EV-production-line
Mixed production at Motomachi factory (Source: Toyota)

Toyota says its “wealth of knowledge” about molds will help speed up production. The company believes it can reduce the lead time for changing molds to around 20 minutes compared to 24 hours.

Other tech like self-propelled assembly lines and robots are promised to enhance efficiency while minimizing defects.

Toyota-EV-production-line
(Source: Toyota)

Toyota also revealed new EV battery plans last summer, including two next-gen batteries due out by 2027. The first “Performance” battery is promised to feature over 800 km (497 miles) range while cutting costs by 20% compared to the bZ4X.

Meanwhile, the “Popularisation” version, due out in 2026-2027, is expected to feature over 600 km (372 miles) range at 40% lower costs.

Toyota-EV-batteries
Toyota EV battery roadmap (Source: Toyota)

Further out (2027-2030), Toyota plans to launch a series of “further evolution” batteries, including solid-state batteries with over 1,000 km (621 mi) range and 10-min fast charge.

Ogawa believes “this is kind of the starting year of the real multipath way, like the hybrid, which we already have, and then plug-in, something between hybrid and BEV, and then BEV, which it is time to introduce to the market.”

Although Toyota is “of course” behind Tesla’s battery tech, according to Ogawa, the company is “catching up.” Ogawa said Toyota is not only catching up on EVs but “also the ecosystem surrounding the BEV area, such as the home charging or energy management.”

Electrek’s Take

Is Toyota really catching up this time? We’ve heard this several times in the past from executives.

With EVs accounting for less than 0.4% of sales in the US, Toyota will need to do more to prove it. Toyota planned to launch solid-state EV batteries in 2021 and 2022, but now we are not expected to see them hit the market until around 2028 (at the earliest).

Other tech, like Giga casting and automated production, will help improve efficiency, but new EVs are not expected to debut until 2026.

Toyota has made several investments recently to boost US production, including a $1.4 billion investment in Indiana to build a new electric SUV, separate from its promised three-row EV model.

Can new models and tech help Toyota catch up in the electric vehicle market this time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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