Nano food: must-know

23.11.2016 Nano food: must-know

Nano food is frequently described as food of the future, but many products with nanoparticles can be bought in ordinary stores. Read our article about nano food and innovative developments in this sector.

Наночастицы в продуктах питания

The size of nanoparticles is comparable with viruses, proteins and antibodies. Only one blood cell may contain thousands of nanoparticles.

The use of nano technologies in the food industry will allow to produce low fat products without sacrificing taste or to fill them up with additional nutrients.

Natural nanoparticles have been used in the food industry within ages. For instance, mayonnaise is made by combining micro particles of water and oil. But if traditional sauce contains 70% of fats, one can reduce it up to 40% using nano technologies. Such developments are already conducted by Leatherhead Food research company.

Why we need nano food

Nano particles can provide vitamins along with common food, help to transfer medicines to certain parts of the body and even reduce the amount of wasting food.

“Opportunities are unlimited”, Jeffrey Card, Intertek expert said. “Imagine filters of nano particles that remove microbes from dairy products or nano sensors, warning consumers that food is off.”

Main lines of research in this industry:

  • Obtaining nano nutrients: nutritional substances that are able to penetrate into any cell.
  • Creating transport nano capsules that will transfer nutrients and medicines to necessary organs.
  • Development of nanostructural nutrients, changing product features.
  • Creating nanopacking that will increase products’ term of storage and inform a consumer if they are off.

Some developments are ready for implementing, but the main issue is still should be solved. It is referred to their safety.

Nano food: hidden threat?

“The problem is that characteristics, which make nano materials so attractive for the industry, can be dangerous for human health”, Kathy Jo Wetter, a researcher of nano technologies at ETC Group, said. We don’t know how artificial nano particles will influence cell membranes and organ systems in the longer term.

Thus, the European Union officially approved only two nano materials within its territory: methacrylate copolymer and titanium nitride, allowing to make bottle plastic more solid. Besides these materials, the food industry frequently uses one more nano material – titanium dioxide.

Generally, major brands deny the presence of nanoparticles in their products. But the fact is that currently we don’t have laws, obliging manufacturers to give detailed information. Thus, there can be a lot of similar products on sale.

Таблица содержания диоксид-титана в продуктах питания - наноеда

Preserve products longer

In the nearest time, the most prospective and safe application field of nano technologies in the food industry is packing.

Well, SUBMiller, British brewing company, adds nanoparticles in bottle plastic. They fill all space between molecules, preventing penetration of oxygen and outlet of hissy carbon dioxide. As a result, beer keeps taste and flavor better.

David Edwards, a bioengineer from Harvard, released an innovative WikiCell packing in 2009. This edible cover keeps product features better than blisters and helps to solve the food waste problem. It is planned that the packing will enter the market and be used in restaurants; until then, a few dozen American shops pack yoghurt and ice-cream into WikiCell.

Nano technology protectors claim that we won’t do without nano food in future. Within population growth conditions, it will help to overcome famine and provide people with quality food full of nutrients. Besides, due to better storing in nano packing, the amount of throwing food will decrease by 30—40%.

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