The search for life/health quality has driven the search for a better understanding of food components on the overall individual health, which turns to be intrinsically related to the digestive system. In vitro digestion models are considered an alternative for the in vivo studies for a variety of practical reasons, but further research is still needed concerning the colon model establishment. An effective in vitro colon model should consider all unit operations and transport phenomena, together with chemical and biochemical reactions, material handling and reactor design. Due to the different techniques and dependence on the donor microbiota, it is difficult to obtain a standard protocol with results reproductible in time and space. Furthermore, the colon model should be fed with a representative substrate, thus what happens in upper digestion tract and absorption prior to colon is also of crucial importance. Essentially, there are two ways to think about how to achieve a good and useful in vitro colon model: a complex biomimetic system that provides results comparable with the in vivo studies or a simple system, that despite the fact it could not give physiologically relevant data, it is sufficient to understand the fate of some specific components.
Keywords: Biofilm; Colon; High-cell density; In vitro digestion; Solid-state fermentation; Transport phenomena.