Nanotechnology could make better food: scientist

February 15th, 2009 - 11:59 am ICT by IANS  

Chicago, Feb 15 (Xinhua) Foods produced by nanotechnology are healthy and absorbed in the human body more efficiently, a Dutch scientist has said.

“The problem I always face is that people do not understand what we are doing with nanotechnology and food,” said Frans Kampers, one of the panelists gathered here for the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting Saturday.

“Everyone has this vision of nanotechnology being nanoparticles and nanoparticles being risky, so they are very afraid that nanoparticles in food will have an adverse effect on health,” he said.

The promise of nanotechnology, the Dutch scientist said, is that it could allow re-engineering ingredients to bring healthy nutrients more efficiently to the body while allowing less-desirable components to pass through.

“We are basically creating nanostructures in food that are designed to fall apart in your body because of digestion so in the end there will be no nanoparticles,” Kampers said.

He added that European food scientists already used nanotechnology to create structures in foods that can deliver nutrients to specific locations in the body for the most beneficial effects.

“These are also controversial applications of nanotechnology,” Kampers said.

He said use of metal, usually silver, and nanoparticles in packaging to slow spoilage could move from the packaging material into the food itself.

“More research is necessary to understand the kinetics and dynamics of these particles before large-scale applications in food are developed. At the moment, these types of nanoparticles are rarely used in food products,” he said.

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