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Posted Thu May 27 2010: from New Scientist:
The taste of tiny: Putting nanofoods on the menu
So what is a nanofood? It isn't just about nanoparticles. Many foods have a natural nanostructure - the proteins in milk form nanoscale clusters, for example - that can be altered on the nanoscale to enhance their properties. In fact, researchers have been changing the nanostructure of food for years, for example by adding emulsifiers to improve the texture of ice cream. It's the emergence of technologies such as atomic force microscopy that has changed the game by finally opening a window on the nanoworld. Rather than working blind, Morris can now take a close look at the tiny structures he works on, understand their behaviour and then make changes in a more rational and deliberate way.... "We know that the food industry is looking at encapsulating certain ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins or minerals," says Frans Kampers, who researches bionanotechnologies at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands. The idea is an attractive one. Oil-soluble nutrients can be poorly absorbed in the watery environment of the gut, with a proportion passing right through the body. Nano-encapsulation converts them to a dispersed form that is more easily taken up (Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science, vol 14, p 3). Wrapping them in nano packages also extends their shelf life, masks any unpleasant tastes and, in the case of nano-emulsions, makes them invisible to the naked eye so that they don't affect a food's appearance.
[Read more stories about: nanotechnology, food safety, unintended consequences]

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'Doc Michael says:
I'm sure any unintended consequences will be really small!

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