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Peter Ellis


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Personal profile

Research interests

Our group is interested in the structure and properties of dietary polysaccharides (starch and non-starch polysaccharides or NSP) with respect to the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of nutrients and phytochemicals. Current studies focus for example on the rheological behaviour of water-soluble NSP in the gastrointestinal tract and also the properties of supramolecular structures such as starch and the plant cell wall matrix. We are particularly interested in the kinetics of starch digestion and glucose absorption and the so-called 'glycaemic index'. An important part of this work is to perform structure-function studies in order to understand the role of dietary NSP in the prevention and treatment of disease. More specifically, this has involved investigating polysaccharide behaviour in relation to gastrointestinal function, especially the physico-chemical processes that influence macronutrient digestion and absorption. This is of importance in evaluating the role of starch and non-starch polysaccharides ('dietary fibre') in the aetiology and treatment of disease, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. An understanding of mechanisms of dietary NSP will facilitate the rational design of novel functional ingredients and foods with enhanced medical or nutritional benefits.

Research interests (short)

Polysaccharide structure and function, especially in relation to digestion and metabolism

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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