Envivo Bio has announced that its CapScan intestinal sampling device can accurately and non-invasively profile the human gut microbiome and metabolome under physiological conditions for the first time in a study.

CapScan is said to be a non-invasive, ingestible collection device a size of a vitamin tablet. Every device has a pH-targeted enteric coating and is made to disintegrate at a predetermined rate as per the various pH levels of the intestines.

CapScan’s internal bladder opens and pulls in luminal fluid once this coating dissolves, which is subsequently examined outside the body.

The findings, published in the British weekly scientific journal Nature, demonstrate that the CapScan device is the first and only device of its kind that has the potential to accelerate microbiome-related research. The device will also enable biopharmaceutical drug discovery and development programmes.

Envivo Bio said that researchers from many universities have defined the capabilities of CapScan to measure viral, microbial, proteomic, and bile acid profiles in the human intestines during normal digestion in the Nature article.

In the article, the researchers reported significant differences in gene-class abundance, microbiome composition, prophage induction, and the host proteome along various regions of the human intestine.

Furthermore, the results identified and measured microbes and metabolites that are absent in stool or are not accessible through endoscopic sampling.

Envivo Bio CEO and founder Dari Shalon said: “Our research confirms that, up until now, studies of the gut microbiome have really been studies of the stool microbiome, which missed out on most of the biological activity in our intestinal tract.

“By enabling researchers to sample and assess each of the diverse intestinal ecosystems separately and directly for the first time, CapScan opens the door to a new era of microbiome research.”

In a similar development, the company reported that the new data published in Nature Metabolism shows that the CapScan intestinal sampling device can offer spatial and temporal insights into the metabolome in the upper intestinal tract.

The researchers found around 1,900 metabolites, including sulfonolipids and fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids (FAHFA) lipids.

Additionally, they identified the link between metabolites and dietary biomarkers, luminal keto acids, and fruit intake, Envivo Bio said.