Dept. of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry,
The term ‘nanofood’ describes food which has been
cultivated, produced, processed or packaged using
nanotechnology techniques or tools, or to which
manufactured nanomaterials have been added .
Examples of nano-ingredients and manufactured
nanomaterial additives include nanoparticles of iron
or zinc, and nanocapsules containing ingredients like
co-enzyme Q10 or Omega 3.
Our food already contains certain natural
nanostructures. The three basic food
are proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Many food proteins and
carbohydrate starches exist
naturally in the nanoscale
and simple triglyceride lipids
are about 2 nm long.
Food substances are also metabolised in the
body at a nanoscale.
New tastes, flavors , and textures of food
Less amount of fat, salt, sugar and preservatives
Enhanced uptake and bioavailability of nutrients and
Increased nutritional value
Maintenance of food quality and freshness,
‘Improved’, ‘Active’, ‘Intelligent’, and ‘Smart ’ packaging
Better traceability and safety of food
analysts estimate that
600 nanofoods and
400-500 nano food
are already on
• Nano emulsion –particles for better
availability and dispersion of nutrients.
• Nano-emulsions consist of fine oil-in-water
dispersions, having droplets covering the size
range of 100–600 nm.
- nanocapsules with
tuna fish oil
- nanocapsules break
only in the stomach
‘Tip-Top Up’ - Omega 3
Bread Canola Active
- reduce cholesterol
intake by 14%
Nano-encapsulation in the form of anomicelles, liposomes
or protein-based arrier systems has been used to develop
delivery systems for additives and supplements in food and
• ENHANCED NUTRIENT DELIVERY
Nano-encapsulating improves solubility of
vitamins, antioxidants, healthy omega oils and
• Nano capsules containing tuna fish oil (a
source of omega 3 fatty acids) in “Tip-Top"
It is a nano particle that consist of a shell
and a space ,in which desired substance
may be placed.
nano capsules are sub microscopic
colloidal drug carrier systems composed of
an oily or an aqueous core surrounded by
a thin polymer membrane .
• Nutraceuticals must not only supplement the
diet but should also aid in the prevention
and/or treatment of disease and/or disorder.
• Nutraceuticals are represented for use as a
conventional food or as the sole item of meal
EDIBLE NANO COATINGS
Most of us are familiar
waxy coatings often used
on apples. Now
enabling the development
of nanoscale edible
as thin as 5nm wide,
which are invisible to the
Edible nano coatings could be used on meats, cheese,
fruit and vegetables, confectionery, bakery goods and fast
They could provide a barrier to moisture and gas
exchange, act as a vehicle to deliver colours, flavours,
antioxidants, enzymes and anti-browning agents, and
could also increase the shelf life of manufactured foods,
even after the packaging is opened .
United States company Sono-Tek Corp. announced in
early 2007 that it has developed an edible antibacterial
nano coating which can be applied directly to bakery
goods; it is currently testing the process with its clients .
Developing smart packaging to optimise
product and increse shelf life
Such packaging systems would be
Able to repair small holes/tears,
Respond to environmental conditions (e.g.
temperature and moisture changes), and
Alert the customer if the food is contaminated.
Nanofibers and Nanotubes
Nanofibers have only a few
potential applications in the food
industry. Produced by a
manufacturing technique using
electrostatic force, nanofibers
which makes them ideal for serving
as a platform for bacterial cultures.
In addition, nanofibers could also
serve as the structural matrix for
artificial foods and
environmentally friendly food-
• It is a polymer or co-polymer
having dispersed in its nano
particles .these may be different
shape , but only one dimension
• This technology was developed to
improve barrier performance
pertaining to gases such as
oxygen and carbon dioxide.
• It also enhances the barrier
• Adding strength, stiffness,
dimensional stability and heat
Lighter Minimizes loss of C
&STRONGER from Beer
• High barrier properties against the migration of
oxygen, carbon dioxide, flavour compounds, and
water vapour. Decreasing water vapour permeability
is a critical issue in the development of biopolymers as
sustainable packaging materials. The nano scale plate
morphology of clays and other fillers promotes the
development of gas barrier properties.
printed indicators based on intelligent inks
active tags, disposable power sources (logistics)
product identification & anticounterfeiting (nano
barcodes, nano taggants)
Smart packaging e.g.
• hourglass-shaped freshness label for meat
products . The label contains special ink that
changes its color based on the amount of
ammonia emitted by the meat (the older the
meat, the more ammonia it releases). Like an
hourglass, the bottom half of the label “fills up”
as the meat ages. Consumers can judge the
product’s freshness at a glance.
• When the meat is no longer suitable for sale, the
ink blocks the barcode at the bottom so that it
cannot be scanned at the cash register.
• beneficial to the food industry
• they can extend product shelf life
• maintain food safety by reducing the growth
rate of microorganisms.
• The packaging system can both inhibit
microbial growth on non-sterilized foods and
maintain the sterility of pasteurized foods,
thus preventing post-contamination.
• Chemical nature of the anti-microbial
• Physical chemistry characteristics of
• Micro flora of foods and physiology
of target microorganism;
• Migration mechanisms of anti-
microbial agents into foods;
• Storage environments;
• Film or container manufacturing
processes and their influence on
efficiency of anti-microbial additives;
• Toxicity and regulatory issues;
• Organoleptical property of the anti-microbial
• Mach inability and process ability of the anti-
microbial packaging on the packaging line
materials. Research and development trends in
anti-microbial packaging systems may progress to
achieving more effectiveness and better anti-
microbial activity within a broader spectrum,
utilizing natural extracts, and creating new
applications for non-food uses.
• potassium sorbate on low-density
polyethylene (LDPE) - cheese packaging;
• calcium sorbate in CMC/paper constructions
• benzoic acid anhydride in LDPE - fish
packages; imazalil in LDPE - bell peppers and
• grapefruit seed extract in LDPE -lettuce and
soy bean sprouts.
Table I Short List of Anti-Microbial Agents for Use in Films
Anti-Microbial Category Examples
Organic Acids Salt, Acid, Anhydride
Natural Derivatives Spice Extracts
Enzymes Lysozyme, Glucose Oxidase
Bacteroicins Nisin, Pediocin
Chelators EDTA, Citric Acid
Gases Carbon Dioxide, Ozone, Chlorine Dioxide
Silver Ions, Salts
Nano Sensors used in Grain
Carbon dioxide Sensor
NOW STEP INTO FOOD INDUSTRY
In Industry it takes a vital role in following
Safety and quality maintenance
Nanotechnology in the Food Market
• Nanotechnology offers considerable opportunities for
the development of innovative products and
applications for agriculture, water treatment, food
production, processing, preservation and packaging
• It is expected that nanotechnology-derived food
products will be increasingly available to consumers
worldwide in the coming years.
A key application area of nanotechnology for
food processing is the development of certain
nano-structured (also termed as nano-textured)
foodstuffs, such as spreads, mayonnaises, creams,
yoghurts and ice creams. The nano-structuring of
food materials has been claimed for new tastes,
improved textures, consistency and stability of
emulsions, compared to equivalent conventionally
The main advantage is said to be a better
dispersability of water-insoluble additives in foodstuffs
without the use of additional fat or surfactants, and
enhanced tastes and flavours due to enlarged surface area
of nano-sized additives over conventional forms A range of
consumer products containing nano-sized additives is
already available in the supplements, nutraceuticals and
These include minerals, antimicrobials, vitamins,
antioxidants, etc. Virtually all of these products also claim
enhanced absorption and bioavailability in the body
compared to their conventional equivalents
The advantage of nano-beverages is their
higher concentration and high absorption
characteristics. The colour of the herbal beverages
is often unstable and nanotechnology may hold the
key to this problem.
thai-based beverage company is actively
developing a set of dietary fruit drinks that
beverage 'shots' with botanical extracts are
being developed from the extracts of natural plants
such as curcuma, mangosteen, chili and roselle
Nano-nonstick coatings to make it easier to get the last drops of ketchup out of
"One new application for us is spraying nanomaterial suspensions onto biodegradable
plastic food wrapping materials to preserve the freshness of food products," says its
chairman and CEO.
FOOD SAFETY AND BIOTERRORISM
The US FDA has listed the following pathogens or pathogen products
that could be used in biological warfare:
• Smallpox (variola)
• Anthrax (Bacillus anthracis)
• Plague (yersinia pestis)
• Tularemia (Francisella tularensis)
• Brucellosis (Brucella abortus)
• Q fever (Coxiella burnellii)
• Botulism toxin (produced by clostridium botulinun)
• Staphylococcal enterotoxin B
New products to diagnose, counter and treat these public health threats
Creation of civil emergency group to tackle emergencies.
Create awareness among food handlers and follow practices of basic
food safety handling
FOOD CONTACT WITH SUBSTANCES
Packaging innovation to ensure food safety as certain components of
packing like printing inks, labels, colours, seals can affect food
Innovative packaging like vaccum packaging, controlled
atmosphere or modified atmospheric packaging (CAP or MAP).
MAP involves sealing package under vaccum or one time gas
flushing and sealing. Three types of gases may be used singly or in
combination namely nitrogen, carbondioxide and oxygen.
Nano-filters will allow you to choose the amount of
caffeine you want to remove from your coffee.
Making tap water sterile should be possible too.
Nano-filters - screens so small they can filter out
micro-organisms and even viruses are used in the
brewing and diary industry.
• Lactose can now be filtered from milk, and
replaced with another.
• Plastic films -allow the food to stay
fresher longer. These films are packed with
silicate nanoparticles to reduce the flow of
oxygen into the package and the leaking of
moisture out of the package,
• Ice cream-nano
materials to make their
products "look richer
and better textured.
• " Bread makers are
on their loaves "to
make them shinier and
help them keep
• Food storage bins with silver nanoparticles
embedded in the plastic. The silver
nanoparticles kill bacteria from any food
previously stored in the bins, minimizing
Food storage bins
Nano Bioluminescence Detection
Source: AgroMicron Ltd.
Nanoengineered luminescent protein emits a
visible glow to the surface of Salmonella and
Not for human alone
In theory, the nano-sized supplements, e.g.
vitamins and minerals, developed for human
(health)food applications can equally be used for
Some feed-grade nano-vitamin mixes are also
available for use in poultry and livestock feed.
Examples of the nano-sized additives specifically
developed for animal feed include a natural
biopolymer from yeast cell wall that is intended to
bind mycotoxins to protect animals against
mycotoxicosis,and the possible use of an aflatoxin
binding nano-additive for animal feed, which is
derived from modified nanoclay.
• Available Soon
• Teeth cleaning chewing gum
• Self-cleaning cutlery
• Programmable drinks.
Nano-scale sensors are in development that will monitor
toxins and bacteria at all stages of food processing.
• 'Smart' food packaging that will warn when oxygen has
got inside, or if food is going off.
• Reductions in fats and salts in processed foods.
Unilever believes it can reduce
the fat content of ice cream
from 15 per cent to one per cent.
There are no warming labels on foods that contain nano foods
because health officials believe there is no reason for caution of
Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have shown that
nanoparticles poes potential risks to human health
The amount of nanomaterial in food may be small, but it
can accumulate with repeated consumption
Even non-nanomaterial may contain nanaparticles as
those uaed in food packaging maight leach into food or beverages
Nanoparticles have many properties that can make them
potentially dangerous and hard to control.
Scary Facts About “Nano Foods”