Occupational Health & Safety

Review Articles Explore Nanotechnology Applications in Food Safety

The Institute of Food Technologists released three review articles in the Journal of Food Science that were presented at the IFT Annual Meeting in 2009. The articles provide greater detail on nanotechnology science and its application to food.

Nanotechnology is the science of controlling material structures with dimensions of 100 nanometers or smaller. This new science may revolutionize agricultural and food systems and has the potential to impact the science of food in a positive way. For example, it could generate new innovations in food texture, taste, process ability, and stability during shelf life. To foster the positive growth of nanotechnology, IFT focused several educational sessions on nanotechnology at the 2009 Annual Meeting in Anaheim. The following review articles focus on nanotechnology and the future of foods.

Nanocomposites in Food Packaging
Researchers Arora and Padua from the University of Illinois discuss the challenges of using nanotechnology to create low-cost packaging that assists in functionality, weight, and ease of processing. Nanotechnology could provide better barriers against compounds that impact the shelf life of fresh and processed foods.

Design of Nano-Laminated Coatings to Control Bioavailability of Lipophilic Food Components
Researcher McClements from the University of Massachusetts reviews the impact of nano-laminated coatings on the bioavailability of encapsulated lipids. Bioactive lipophilic or fat-liking compounds could be incorporated into foods or beverages, which may increase the ingredient's stability, palatability, desirability, and bioactivity. These coatings could play a role in nutrient release within the human gastrointestinal tract.

Bioavailability and Delivery of Nutraceuticals Using Nanotechnology
Researchers Huang, Yu, and Ru from Rutgers University examine the applications of nanotechnology in food and nutrition for the design and development of new functional food ingredients. More specifically, the researchers discuss the encapsulation and controlled release of active food ingredients using nanotechnological approaches in great detail. Researchers continue to investigate the improved water solubility, oral bioavailability, and biological efficacies of nano-encapsulated nutraceuticals.

To receive copies of these studies, contact Jeannie Houchins at jhouchins@ift.org.

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