Cell-based intestinal absorption models combined with food and digestive matrixes to study toxicity and in vitro bioavailability of food bioactives and contaminants

Commonly used acronym: bioavailability

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Human derived cells / tissues / organs
Specify the type of cells/tissues/organs
intestine, liver, immune cells


Method keywords
  • bioavailability
  • digestion
  • intestine
  • food
  • bioactives
  • toxins
  • epithelial barrier function
Scientific area keywords
  • bioaccessibility
  • bioavailability
  • food
  • effect of food matrix on availability of compounds
  • cytotoxicity
  • digestion
Method description

A set of protocols to combine the widely used Caco-2 cell line with digests from in vitro digestion models (small intestine, colon) to study toxicity, intestinal barrier integrity, bioavailability and, when combined with other cell models (immune, liver, endothelium), bioactivity of food related bioactives and contaminants.

Lab equipment
  • - Cell culture facilities;
  • - Trans-epithelial electrical resistance measurements;
  • - Fluorescence plate reader;
  • - Advanced analytical techniques.
Method status
  • History of use
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential

  • - Includes relevant food and digestive matrices;
  • - Barrier and transport assays combined.
  • - Case-per-case optimization;
  • - Toxicity.

References, associated documents and other information


Van Rymenant, E., Salden, B., Voorspoels, S., Jacobs, G., Noten, B., Pitart, J., Possemiers, S., Smagghe, G., Grootaert, C., Van Camp, J. A critical evaluation of in vitro hesperidin 2S bioavailability in a model combining luminal (microbial) digestion and Caco-2 cell absorption in comparison to a randomized controlled human trial. 2018. MOLECULAR NUTRITION & FOOD RESEARCH. 62(8).

Contact person

Charlotte Grootaert


Ghent University (UGent)
Food Technology, Safety and Health
Ghent University
Flemish Region