OPPORTUNITIES FOR NANOTECHNOLOGIES IN FOOD PRODUCTION

F.W.H. Kampers
Food products are usually made of nanostructured materials. It is therefore not remarkable that the toolbox that micro and nanotechnologies offer to the food product developer provide new opportunities for product and process innovations in the food sector. Moreover these new technologies offer contributions to the solution of some of the global food related challenges that mankind faces. The opportunities that nano¬technologies offer range from more sustainable food production by replacing inefficient processes with new ones based on the control of the process and functionality at the nano scale, development of nutrient delivery systems that allow fortification of food products with healthy nutrients, novel processes that can produce products that macroscopically are very similar to traditional food products but contain substantially less caloric value, sensors and diagnostic devices that can monitor and ensure the safety of food products throughout the food chain in a cost effective way, and various improved packaging concepts to extend the shelf life of fresh products or signal quality deterioration of the packaged product. But apart from the obvious benefits of applications of nanotechnologies in food, there are also some disadvantages. Possible risks associated with persistent engineered nanomaterials require robust regulation to ensure safe application. Although persistent engineered nanomaterials are only a very small part of all the applications of nanotechnologies in food, the general public has picked up on this and now associates nanotechnology with these risks. Moreover, the general sentiment towards foods that are associated with technologies is not positive. To be able to achieve the benefits that nanotechnologies have to offer, it is imperative that a good communication of applications of nano¬technologies takes place and that consumers can make an informed decision whether or not they would like to have the benefits of certain applications of nanotechnologies, or whether they simply do not accept certain risks, however small, of these tech¬nologies in food.
Kampers, F.W.H. (2011). OPPORTUNITIES FOR NANOTECHNOLOGIES IN FOOD PRODUCTION. Acta Hortic. 916, 113-117
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.916.11
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.916.11
biosensors, consumer acceptance, encapsulation, sustainable food production, nanomaterial risks, pathogen detection, smart packaging
English

Acta Horticulturae