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Nanotechnology Applications in Functional Foods; Opportunities and Challenges

  • Received : 2016.02.11
  • Accepted : 2016.03.12
  • Published : 2016.03.31

Abstract

Increasing knowledge on the link between diet and human health has generated a lot of interest in the development of functional foods. However, several challenges, including discovering of beneficial compounds, establishing optimal intake levels, and developing adequate food delivering matrix and product formulations, need to be addressed. A number of new processes and materials derived from nanotechnology have the potential to provide new solutions in many of these fronts. Nanotechnology is concerned with the manipulation of materials at the atomic and molecular scales to create structures that are less than 100 nm in size in one dimension. By carefully choosing the molecular components, it seems possible to design particles with different surface properties. Several food-based nanodelivery vehicles, such as protein-polysaccharide coacervates, multiple emulsions, liposomes and cochleates have been developed on a laboratory scale, but there have been very limited applications in real food systems. There are also public concerns about potential negative effects of nanotechnology-based delivery systems on human health. This paper provides an overview of the new opportunities and challenges for nanotechnology-based systems in future functional food development.

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