Advantages of nanotechnology in food industry

Advantages of nanotechnology in food industry
Nanotechnology relates to particles, systems and processes, which operate at dimension between 1‒100 nanometres (nm). To look on its importance, nano has significantly involved in most of the matters of the universe; it has blown its shine over every field and is emerging as the latest trend of every research. The characteristics of nanoparticles deliver novel opportunities in food industries, which include potent applications in the areas of food colouring, flavouring and nutritional enhancement for food processing. Nanotechnology is now widely being used in food processing sector and agricultural sector too to improve the existing food materials.

The advantage of nano-food technology is summarised as follows:
  • The top-down approach is used in food nanotechnology, which is achieved basically by means of physical way of processing the food materials. For example, grinding and milling, to obtain uniform fine size that ensures high water binding capacity.
  • Both structural and chemical complexities of nanoparticles have made a relative ease in the manufacture of foods synthetically.
  • Nanoscale food additives can influence the product’s shelf-life, nutrient composition, texture, flavour or can detect pathogens present in food and represent as food quality indicators.
  • In food packaging, the gas flow across product packaging can be prevented through nanotechnology.
  • Targeted smart delivery mechanisms (e.g. beverages) of nanoparticles in food enhance both human health optimization and physical, visual and sensory effects. For example, products of nanoceuticals, such as nanocages, nanoclusters, etc.
  • Containers coated with nanosilver particles can enhance storage of food safely without spoilage.
  • Encapsulation systems extend product’s shelf-life, protect the capsulated ingredients from the surrounding medium and against environmental factors and unwanted interaction during food processing and improve delivery of several materials to a target site. For example, canola active oil.
  • Packaging or coatings enable controlled gas diffusion and prolonged lifetime of various other products. For example, nanocomposites.
  • Increased production of bio-active compounds found naturally in certain foods improves the physiological benefits and reduces the risk of dreadful diseases. For example, omega-3- and omega-6-fatty acids, probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins and minerals. Nanotechnology has a wide opportunity to improve the bio-availability of these bio-active compounds without causing toxic effects.
  • Nano-aluminates used as edible films in foods give protection against moisture, lipids and gases or enhance food textural properties and also act as carriers of anti-oxidants, antimicrobials, etc. Materials that can be used for preparing nano-aluminates include polysaccharide, proteins, etc.
  • Carotenoids nanoparticles improve bio-availability when dispersed in water, such as mixing in fruit drinks.
  • Silicon-based materials used in nanocantilevers recognise proteins and detect pathogenic bacteria and viruses and detect contaminant chemicals, toxins and antibiotic residues in food products.

  • Although nanotechnology is finding better solutions for existing problems in food technology, more insights on biological activity of nano-entities should be specifically studied in order to improve its applicability in food industry.
    How to cite this article:
    Fathima Sameena M. Advantages of nanotechnology in food industry. BioLim O-Media. 11 December, 2015. 3(10).
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