My main research interests centre around understanding how starch structure can be modified for improved nutritional outcomes as a food component.
The basis of this work involves applying microscopic, thermal, spectroscopic and scattering techniques to develop an understanding of different starch structures. This is coupled with detailed kinetic analysis of starch digestion allowing specific structutural features of starch to be linked with differences in digestion kinetics.
This is then related to the digestion behaviour of starch in the small intestine in vivo, to explore how starches with differencing structural and in vitro digestion properties behave in the small intestine.
Future work will take this forward to investigate the fermentation of starch in the large intestine, and the effects of starch structure on microbial fermentation. Different starch structures may be shown to have distinct effects on large intestinal fermentation, in terms of kinetics and fermentation end products, as well as predominant amylolytic microbial species.