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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Healthy Processed Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #228152

Title: Food Nanotechnology - Food Packaging Applications

item McHugh, Tara

Submitted to: The World of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2008
Publication Date: 6/6/2008
Citation: Mc Hugh, T.H. 2008. The World of Food Science. Food Nanotechnology - Food Packaging Applications. V4:1-3.

Interpretive Summary: Current and future applications of nanoscience to food packaging are reviewed. The market for these packages is large and several food packages already use nanoscience to improve their properties.

Technical Abstract: Astonishing growth in the market for nanofoods is predicted in the future, from the current market of $2.6 billion to $20.4 billion in 2010. The market for nanotechnology in food packaging alone is expected to reach $360 million in 2008. In large part, the impetus for this predicted growth is the extraordinary benefits nanoscience offers to improve food packages. Improvements in fundamental characteristics of food packaging materials, such as strength, barrier properties, antimicrobial properties, and stability to heat and cold are being achieved using nanocomposite materials. Preparation and characterization of nanocomposites will be reviewed and commercially available nanocomposite food packages will be described. Nanoscience is also being used develop active and intelligent packages. Antimicrobial activity can be imparted to food packages through incorporation of silver, magnesium oxide or zinc oxide nanoparticles which kill harmful microorganisms. Addition of nanosensors to food packages is also anticipated in the future. These nanosensors could be used to detect chemicals, pathogens and toxins in foods. Taking advantage of the lotus effect, dirt repellent coatings for food packages are also being developed. In addition, nano wheels, nanofibers and nanotubes are being looked at as a means to improve the properties of food packages. These and other current and future applications of nanotechnology to food packaging will be discussed.