Scientists develop 3D printed pill that samples bacteria found in the gut

Bacteria in the gut are pulled into the helical channels by an osmotic “pump'” in the pill. ©Nano Lab, Tufts University.

(Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo/ Medical Life Science News) — The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of living microbes, and more than a thousand species of bacteria. It has been known that the gut plays major roles in the body’s health. A team of university engineers may have developed a way to study and collect samples of microbes living in the gut.

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a 3D pill that can sample bacteria in the gut as it passes through the digestive tract. Published in the journal Advanced Intelligent Systems, the 3D pill is the first non-invasive means to acquire samples and provide microbiome populations profile in the entire digestive tract.

At present, sampling methods of the GI tract uses fecal metabolites and DNA analysis. However, these methods do not provide in-depth and comprehensive data of the GI environment, particularly in the upper part of the distal colon. It’s an area where most microbiome species differ significantly. (…)

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