Watching fat digestion

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Science  13 Apr 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4389, pp. 145-148
DOI: 10.1126/science.432636


During fat digestion a number of physicochemical events can be seen directly by light microscopy. Under simulated physiological conditions, hydrolysis of emulsified fat droplets by human pancreatic lipase in the presence of colipase and bile salt micelles proceeds with the sequential formation of two visible product phases. A lamellar liquid crystalline or crystalline phase containing calcium and ionized fatty acid forms first; this is followed by the production of a "viscous isotropic" phase composed predominantly of monoglycerides and protonated fatty acids.