Nanoscience in Foods- Opportunities and Challenges

Nanoscience in Foods: Opportunities and Challenges
4 June 2009
Leatherhead Food International invites you to a one-day conference

Chaired by Professor Clive Roberts, Professor of Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology and Director of the Nottingham Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre, The University of Nottingham

Nanotechnology – Applications in Food Ingredients
Chairman’s Welcome and Introduction

Nanotechnology in the Food & Drink Industry – An Overview
Dr Pretima Titoria, Joint Project Leader, NanoWatch©, LFI

Nanotechnology is an emerging science with potential benefits for the Food & Drink Industry, although at the same time there have been concerns raised over the safe usage and potential risks.

An overview of the nanotechnology methodologies will be given here, along with an update on academic & fundamental research that is relevant to the Food & Drink Industry. A review of the “nanofood” products currently on the market will be included, as well as an evaluation of the concerns and issues.

Self-Assembly for Nano-Particles – What is it and Why?
Professor George John, Associate Professor, The City College of the City University of New York

The self-assembly of low molecular weight building blocks into nanoscale molecular objects has attracted interest in fabrication of soft materials. Building blocks, used in supramolecular chemistry, are synthesised mainly from petroleum-based starting materials; however, biobased organic synthesis presents distinct advantages for generating new building blocks since they are obtainable from renewable resources. Current research is looking at developing building blocks from renewable resources to generate soft materials such as new surfactants, emulsifiers, liquid crystals, lipid nanotubes and molecular gels. Some examples of soft materials from agri-sources will be presented. These hydrogels have been shown as delivery vehicles. By combining biocatalysis with principles of green and supramolecular chemistry, building blocks-to-assembled materials were developed. The advances that have led to the understanding of sugar-based gelators and its resulting impact on future food and biomaterial applications will also be addressed.

Exhibition for Nano-Fabrication & Nano-Characterisation in the Food & Drink Industry

Forming Nanostructures from Proteins and Polysaccharides
Dr Mark Auty, Manager, National Food Imaging Centre, Teagasc

The inherent ability of biomolecules to self-assemble into nanostructures is an exciting new research area that has yet to be fully exploited by the food industry. By manipulating environmental conditions, it is possible to create a wide range of nanostructures from proteins and polysaccharides. There is potential to design biologically derived nanostructures with specific functionalities ranging from targeted release of bioactives in the intestinal tract to new packaging materials. This presentation will focus on the formation of fibrillar structures from milk proteins and review current food-related nanotechnology applications for proteins and polysaccharides.

Dr Henelyta S. Ribeiro, Research Scientist, Unilever Research Centre

Microfluidic emulsification processes, such as high-pressure homogenisation, and emulsification diffusion methods used to design and fabricate new structures and functional properties will be highlighted, with especial emphasis on the particle size and distribution. Many active compounds are practically insoluble in water and only slightly soluble in oil at room temperature. Incorporation of poorly soluble active compounds into nano structures may influence their solubility and crystallinity. It can enhance their bioaccessibility, deposition, and improve sensory properties. Formulating active compounds into these systems result in faster delivery of the compounds into cellular compartments, improving their bioavailability. Potential advantages of these formulations will be addressed, such as controlled release and penetration of the encapsulated substances, protection against external environmental, and crystallisation.

Nanotechnology – Applications in Food Safety and Processing
Nanomaterials and Food Safety
Professor Ian Bruce, Department of Bioscience, University of Kent

In the context of food safety most of the diagnostic tests and much of the technology to do with identity confirmation and product tracking in terms of supply chains is based on nanomaterials science. Food formulation also involves nanoscience – from ingredients to processing e.g. emulsification which can also render foods ‘safer’ as a consequence of their improved quality. Nanotechnology is therefore widely diffused in the food arena and this talk will specifically concentrate on how it can and is improving public health, safety and confidence in food products by efficient, rapid and cost effective control and monitoring of food quality and identity.

12.30 LUNCH
Exhibition for Nano-Fabrication & Nano-Characterisation in the Food & Drink Industry

Nano-Coating and -Particle Technologies in the Food Safety and Processing Industry: Current Applications and Future Challenges
Professor Vasco Teixeira, Associate Professor in Materials Physics, University of Minho

In the field of nanotechnology-based thin films and coatings, new approaches using nanoscale effects can be used to design, create, or model nanocoating systems with significantly optimised or enhanced properties of high interest to the food, health and biomedical industry. With the development of nanotechnology in various areas of materials science, the potential use of novel surfaces and more reliable materials by employing nanocomposite and nanostructured thin films in food packaging, security pharmaceutical labels, novel polymeric containers for food contact, medical surface instruments, and even coated nanoparticles for bionanotechnology will be considered. An overview of the nanotechnology approaches to produce nanostructured materials for food and health-food industry will also be presented. Topics to be discussed include introduction to nanocoatings concepts (from functional nanocomposite and graded coatings to smart nanomaterial surfaces used in packaging industry) produced by clean PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) Technologies, and other deposition techniques. An overview of the current research, existing technological applications and future industrial materials and components will be highlighted.

Nanotechnologies for the Food Sector – Consumer Safety Concerns
Alan MacNicoll – Principal Scientist, Science Strategy, Research and Innovation, Food and Environment Research Agency

Like other sectors, advances in the field of nanotechnology are promising to revolutionise the food and related sectors. An increasing number of (health) food products are already available worldwide. Although the current nanotechnology applications in the EU’s food sector are only marginal, they are anticipated to grow in the coming years. These new technological developments have, however, also raised concerns over the safety of nanomaterials to consumers’ health. This presentation will highlight the recent developments in this area, and will discuss whether the use of nanotechnology-derived materials in (health) food products will have any consumer safety implications.

Nanotechnology – Regulatory Status and Consumer Perception
Global Regulatory Review of Nanotechnology in Foods
Simon Linsley, Regulatory Advisor, LFI

This will provide an introduction to regulatory controls of nanotechnologies in Europe, the United States and Japan. How the markets are regulated and what legislation applies to nanotechnology products in those markets.

Exhibition for Nano-Fabrication & Nano-Characterisation in the Food & Drink Industry

Consumer Attitude & Perception of Nanotechnology in Foods
Dr Arnout Fischer, Social-Sciences, Marketing and Consumer Behaviour, Wageningen University

A possible application area for nanotechnology is in the food industry; where it can be utilised in processing, packaging, and even as nanoparticles in food itself. Food applications are however more likely to be controversial compared to other applications. As of yet consumer attitudes towards nanotechnology in food does not appear to have crystallised; they are more or less neutral, and very weak. There is some indication, from (risk) psychology, with regard to which factors are most likely to influence the formation of stronger attitudes. Besides psychology of risk, previous failures such as the introduction of genetically modified organisms in the food chain give an indication about the development of public attitudes. Based on these earlier findings, we argue that the inclusion of tangible and desirable end-user benefits will be necessary to overcome even the smallest perceived risk. The challenge for industry will be to adequately address the worries and concerns of the public, even if they seem unreasonable.

Roadmap for Micro- and Nanotechnologies in the Food & Drink Industry – The Future
Dr Keith Robson, NanoKTN-Theme Manager: Manufacturing & Processing

The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN) and its services will be introduced. The mission and way of working of the Food Focus Group recently established by Leatherhead Food International in conjunction with the NanoKTN will be detailed. An overview will be given of the European Technology Platform on Food for Life created by Confederation of the Food & Drink Industries of the EU (CIAA) in 2005, and how its key thrusts of improving health and wellbeing, building consumer trust in the food supply chain and founding the supply chain on sustainable and ethical production align with the application of nanotechnology within the food industry. An exemplar road map will be presented for the development of nanotechnology in food in Japan and the audience invited to consider how a similar roadmap might be constructed for the UK.

16.15 Chairman’s Closing Remarks

For further information, please contact Dr Pretima Titoria, E:, or Rhea Fernandes, E: / T: +44 (0)1372 822 347.

Visit Leatherhead Food International at
Register now by completing the booking form or calling +44 (0)1372 822314


~ by vascoteixeira on May 22, 2009.

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