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Big Opportunities In The Science Of Small

While nanoscale materials are extremely small (typically < 100 nanometers), they are certainly not insignificant. For the food industry, nanotechnology offers new nutrient delivery systems, improved packaging materials, enhanced food safety, and other novel applications. Are you intrigued by the science of small and want to know more? Then head to the 2011 IFT Annual Meeting & Foods Expo® in New Orleans this June. At IFT11, several scientific sessions will explore nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology: The Size of Things

If you’re new to food nanotechnology or need a refresher, a primer session at 7:15 a.m. on Sunday morning will describe the fundamental concepts of science, engineering, and technology at the nanoscale level. Session 006 will also get you up to speed on recent applications and their benefits to consumers as well the potential risks and challenges facing nanoscale research.

Later that morning from 10:30 a.m.–noon, session 017 will detail how nanoscale science & technology is enhancing food safety. The session provides a comprehensive overview of nano’s role in food safety intervention strategies, including antimicrobials, delivery vehicles, equipment surface modification, polymer packaging, and interactions with food matrices. Research has shown that modifying the top nanometer layers of equipment surfaces produces a rechargeable antimicrobial surface following routine sanitation. Better yet, the nanoscale surface modification exhibits a 5-log reduction in a range of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms.

On Sunday afternoon from 1:30 p.m.–3 p.m., session 068 will discuss the role of controlled molecular assembly in food product development. Food formulators in the future will need to understand the relationship among nano, micro, and higher order structures and their impact on physical, chemical, nutritional, and sensory properties.

On Tuesday morning from 8:30 a.m.–10 a.m., session 227 will examine the design of nanoscale vehicles for effective delivery of bioactive compounds in functional foods. In addition, learnings from the drug industry on its use of nanoscience to deliver therapeutic agents via targeted nanoparticles will also be presented. Research in the area has shown promise in the elimination of tumors. Closer to home on the food side, nano-delivery systems can be designed to protect vitamins from degradation during storage and to improve vitamin bioavailability.

What areas of food nanotechnology are you most interested in?

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