Nanotechnology is used in a multitude of applications, from odor-free fabrics, and less perishable foods to cancer-fighting therapeutic methods.
According to the Nan-Opinion Internet portal, launched by the European Union’s Research and Development Program, nanotechnology means “very small-scale engineering”. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter or as if we were comparing the size of an apple with the planet earth.
Overview of Nanofoods
Nanotechnology is applied in a number of areas, including food, agriculture, medicine, information technology, communication, energy and the environment.
At present, in the food sector, the use of nanotechnology predominates to improve the taste of food and make them less perishable.
In addition, some journals detail that nanotechnology has begun to be used in the manufacture of omega-3 bread from fish, improved texture in dairy products such as cheese, and control of food odors.
In processed foods, however, it is being used to reduce the amount of fat and salt needed for production.
Being a relatively new technology with little information available on side effects, it is observed with some skepticism by some citizens, governments, and NGOs. Nano-food critics argue that further studies are needed to confirm the safety of nanotechnology products before mass marketing.
In fact, a magazine reports that since 2008 the European Commission has been studying the possibility of regulating all applications of nanotechnology related to food for humans.
The Future of Nanofoods
Nanotechnology in food will allow us to enjoy healthier products, disease resistant and less perishable. The Agro presents some examples of nanotechnologies that are being developed.
For example, sensors to analyze the state of freshness and estimate the useful life with precision, detection and neutralization of pathogenic microorganisms, additives, drugs, toxins, heavy metals, and pesticides, and detection of anti-nutritional factors and allergens.
Significant progress has also been made in the development of nano-labels or nano-labels, a manufacturing method using nanotechnologies that makes packaging change color when food spoils.
This would allow the product to be removed from the distribution chain before it reaches the gondola and the final consumer.
A magazine called “The Agro”, says that at the University of Rutgers in the United States, experts are using nanotechnology to create foods with medicinal qualities, called Nutraceuticals.
The term has its origin in the fusion of the fields of nutrition and pharmaceutical. Nutraceutical foods have the advantage of being personalized to the genetic and nutritional profile of each person, releasing appropriate molecules and retaining others.
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