Nanotechnology Heats Up
Nanotechnology, also known as nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, is a rapidly growing field of research and applied science that is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy including medicine, energy, electronics, and defense. There is great potential to impact the food and agriculture sector with on-going research and development in many areas. Public interest in nanotechnology as it relates to food has significantly increased in recent years. Particular interest has focused on application discoveries, potential safety implications, and regulatory oversight. Here are some of this year’s sessions that will focus on different aspects of nanotechnology:
- Nanotechnology-enabled food safety interventions (Session 17): In recent years, various nanotechnology-based approaches have been explored to provide novel solutions to food safety intervention challenges. Such solutions include nanoscale delivery of antimicrobials, novel nano-biomaterials and delivery vehicles, food processing surface modification at nanoscale, food polymer packaging, and interactions with food matrices. This symposium presents a comprehensive review of nanotechnology-based food safety intervention technologies. Four active research leaders in the field with diverse and complementary scientific approaches discuss the newest and latest developments.
- Inspiration from nanoscale science and engineering (Session 68): The structure of many familiar foods is often the result of self-assembly of food component molecules into nano-sized structural elements. The ability to control molecular assembly in a food matrix over several length scales will become an integral part of food product design. Future development of food products will require an understanding of the relations between nano, micro, and higher order structures and their impact on physical, chemical, and sensory properties and nutritional functionality. Food scientists and technologists in the future will find themselves ever more engaged in nanoscience and nanotechnology.
- Designing nanoscale vehicles for effective delivery of drugs and bioactives in functional foods (Session 227): The impact of nanotechnology on the food sector is expected to be sizeable. Researchers and industry experts envision better quality and safer foods with enhanced nutritional and health benefits achieved via nanotechnology applications. The first wave of nanotech applications in foods is focused on enhanced uptake and bioavailability of bioactives. Critical developments made in the area of nanodelivery applications for drug delivery can be translated and applied in food applications. This symposium covers topics ranging from information transfer between the drug and food industries, design of nano-delivery systems for food use, and improved efficacy and bioavailability of bioactive compounds via nano-sized delivery systems.