Bacteria-Grabbing 'Pill' Samples Your Whole GI Tract
A new swallowable tool from Purdue University acts like a colonoscopy, except that instead of looking at the colon with a camera, it takes samples of gut bacteria. The technology could also move throughout the whole gastrointestinal tract, which also includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, and rectum. The tool is a drug-like capsule that passively makes its way through the gut without needing a battery. A pill version of a colonoscopy is already commercially available but it can't sample bacteria. The researchers 3D-printed the capsule out of resin, which would need to be slightly modified for humans to ingest. When exposed to the pH of a certain gut location, the capsule’s biodegradable cap dissolves. Inside the capsule, a hydrogel expands and collects intestinal fluid containing bacteria.