Nanotechnology is a powerful new technology for taking apart and reconstructing nature at the atomic and molecular level. Nanotechnology embodies the dream that scientists can remake the world from the atom up, using atomic level manipulation to transform and construct a wide range of new materials, devices, living organisms and technological systems.
Food nanotechnology is an area of emerging interest and opens up a whole universe of new possibilities for the food industry. In the food processing arena, nanomaterials are being developed with altered mechanical and thermal properties to ensure better protection of food from exterior mechanical, thermal, chemical or microbiological effects.
The basic categories of nanotechnology applications and functionalities currently in the development of food packaging include:
Nano food packaging materials may extend food life, improve food safety, alert consumers that food is contaminated or spoiled, repair tears in packaging, and even release preservatives to extend the life of the food in the package.
Nanotechnology is the study and use of structures between 1 nanometer and 100 nanometers in size. It involves the application of the altered physical and chemical properties of nanomaterials and nanoparticles for many new profitable productions and applications. The capability to manipulate, control, assemble, functionalise, produce and manufacture things at atomic precision ,makes nanoscience and technology a potential area that can construct a wide range of new materials, devices and technological systems. The novel properties of nano materials offer many new opportunities for food and agricultural industries, for example more potent food coloring, flavoring and nutritional additives, antibacterial ingredients for food packaging and more potent agro chemicals and fertilizers. Nanotechnology holds great promise to provide benefits not just within food products but also around food products. Nanopackaging is defined as the process of interconnecting, powering, cooling, and protecting the food materials for greatly improved functionality and cost. Nano packaging is already making an impact on the development on of functional or interactive foods, which respond to the body’s requirement and deliver nutrients more efficiently .This paper presents an overview on the interventions of Nanotechnology in food packaging.
Nanotechnology is moving out of the laboratory and into every sector of food production. The term ‘nanofood’ describes food which has been cultivated, produced, processed or packaged using nanotechnology techniques or tools, or to which manufactured nanomaterials have been added.
Nano food packaging is the most commercial of the agri-food nanotechnologies. Nano packaging materials include barrier technologies, which enhance the shelf life, durability and freshness of food. Nano packaging is also being designed to enable materials to interact with the food it contacts; emitting antimicrobials, antioxidants, and nutraceuticals. This smart’ or active’ packaging, as manufacturers brand it, is being developed to respond to specific trigger events. For example, packaging may contain nanosensors that are engineered to change color if a food is beginning to spoil, or if it has been contaminated by pathogens.
Nanocomposites (esp. nanoclay based) & nanostructured coatings for materials with improved barrier properties against oxygen & light, Mechanical strength & flexibility‚ Temperature & moisture stability‚ Durability Biopolymers with improved performance through Fibre modification‚ Modification of biopolymer nanostructures‚ Bionanocomposites‚ Active materials‚ Antimicrobial materials (e.g. silver)‚ Oxygen scavenging materials,‚ UV absorbing materials (TiO2) Intelligent packaging‚ Printed indicators based on intelligent inks‚ Active tags, disposable power sources (logistics)‚ Product identification & anti-counterfeiting (nano barcodes, nano taggants)
Success of packaging materials for fresh products totally depends on the control of internal gas composition and water loss in packaging. Nanopackaging can create a modified atmosphere in packaging with controlled gaseous exchange, so that, for example, the shelf life of vegetables may be increased to weeks.
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