1 Nanotechnology in food industry Nanotechnology in the Food Industry: Post Harvest Management & Smart Packaging Zainab .A. Farooqui B.

Tech (Electronics & Communication Engineering) Amity University Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
ABSTRACT: Nanotechnology is reaching out to all possible fields with latest far-reaching innovations. The field of agriculture is no exception. A few years back the use of nanotechnology in agriculture was mostly theoretical, but now the practical applications have been explored by researchers and will have a significant effect in general and the food industry in particular. Nanoparticles can be more chemically reactive and more bioactive than larger particles. Nanoparticles also have much greater access to our bodies because of their very small size; so they are more likely to enter cells, tissues and organs. These novel properties offer many new opportunities for food industry applications. The types of application include development potent nutritional additives, stronger flavourings and colourings, antibacterial ingredients for smart packaging, on demand preservatives, and interactive foods. The idea of interactive food is to allow consumers to modify food depending on their own nutritional needs or tastes. Some of the nanomaterials now being used in foods and agricultural products introduce new risks to human health and the environment. The effects on society as a whole will be dramatic. This paper is a review of the post harvest management techniques employed to increase the shelf life of foods and reduce wastage, increasing food safety etc. by implementing nanotechnology; and the future of nanotechnology in the food industry. This paper also elaborates on the potential nanotechnology has in the food packaging industry. Further this paper also provides information about various nano-enabled packaging for food and beverage products around the globe. The main objective of this report is to understand the current state of nanoenabled packaging in the food and beverage industry, the companies involved etc. The use of nanotechnology in packaging is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years, though application in food packaging is at the developmental stage. INTRODUCTION: Nanotechnology is a rapidly emerging technology that enables the designers to modify the structure of the packaging materials on the molecular scale, to give the materials desired properties [1]. Due to very large aspect ratios, a relatively low level of nanoparticles is sufficient to change the properties of packaging materials without significant changes in density, transparency and processing characteristics [2] [3] [27]. The addition of certain nanoparticles into shaped objects and films has been shown to render them light, fire-resistant and stronger in terms of mechanical and thermal performance, as well as less permeable to gases. This will make production more efficient and more sustainable through using less water and chemicals. Producing less waste and using less energy is a central concern of food manufacturers [3]. Hence such processes are being encouraged and the drive towards production efficiency is likely to continue to boost nanotechnology funding. The future belongs to new products, new processes with the goal to customize and personalize the products. [4]

and also enhances resistance to gas transmission. [2]. improved recyclability. strength improvement. Packaging that incorporates nanomaterials can be “smart. alcohol in beer reacts with the plastic used for the bottles. and convenience [4]. Nanotechnology in Food Packaging Nanotechnology in food packaging could cut global food waste. called Imperm. monolayer structures with multilayer capabilities. improved barrier properties against environmental factors. to give the materials desired properties. and sensing and signalling of relevant information [5]. Nanotechnology in packaging offers the possibilities of light weighting. thermal. The addition of certain nanoparticles in plastic end products provides improvement in flame resistance. Three basic categories of nanotechnology applications and functionalities appear to be in development for food packaging: enhancement of plastic materials’ barriers. and sensing as well as signalling microbiological and biochemical changes[2]. severely shortening shelf-life. along with monitoring food safety and quality based upon international standards. Nanotechnology enables the designers to alter the structure of the packaging materials on the molecular scale. developing active antimicrobic and antifungal surfaces. The . food retailing is transforming. However. as these are lighter than glass and cheaper than metal cans. have the capability to change the properties of packaging materials without significant changes in clarity and processing performance. New packaging solutions will focus more on food safety by controlling microbial growth. chemical. for example modifying the permeation behaviour of foils. food packaging requires longer shelf life. due to a very high aspect ratio. Other potential applications for emerging nanotechnology in food production and packaging could include the creation of smart filters that could remove allergenic ingredients from foods during manufacturer and the formation of nanoscale emulsions that would enable the number of additives and emulsifiers in food to be reduced[6] [13][32][23] . Voridan. More flexible packaging methods will provide the consumers with fresher and customized products. with the move towards globalization. improving tamper visibility. mechanical & thermal properties. Nanotechnologies already in production are smart sensors which alert customers and retailers when the contents are unsafe to eat.2 Nanotechnology in food industry With the increasing global customer base. [3] [7] [8] [10][31] . has developed a nanocomposite containing clay nanoparticles. increasing barrier properties (mechanical. (Nano-sensors detect if packaging has been opened or tampered with) Nanomaterials. However. improving mechanical and heat-resistance properties. incorporation of active components that can deliver functional attributes beyond those of conventional active packaging. increased shelf life. delaying oxidation.” which means that it can respond to environmental conditions or repair itself or alert a consumer to contamination and/or the presence of pathogens. encoding or decorating individual surfaces. Smart packaging systems Developing smart packaging to optimise product shelf-life has been the goal of many companies. in association with Nanocor. smart substrates that can sense and signal food contamination or spoilage within or outside a package. [3] [4] [20] Creating a Molecular Barrier by Embedding Nanocrystals in Plastic Can Improve Packaging Breweries would ideally use plastic bottles to ship beer [28]. and microbial). counterfeit protection.

nano copper oxide. [24] Edible nano coatings Most of us are familiar with the waxy coatings often used on apples. for example. thereby keeping food fresh. so that the packaging itself acts as an antimicrobial. other packaging and food contact materials incorporate antimicrobial nanomaterials [30]. This “release on command” preservative packaging is operated by means of a bioswitch developed through nanotechnology. flavours. Packaging can release nanoscale antimicrobials. Chemical release nano packaging Chemical release nano packaging enables food packaging to interact with the food it contains.[15] Nano-based antimicrobial packaging And food contact materials Distinct from trigger-dependent chemical release packaging. These products commonly use nanoparticles of silver although some use nano zinc oxide or nano chlorine dioxide. the Dutch Organisation for Applied Science (TNO) has developed a coating of starch colloids filled with an antimicrobial substance such that if micro-organisms grow on the packaged food they will penetrate the starch releasing the antimicrobial substance. [24] [28] Using a Nanotech Bioswitch in ‘Release on Command’ Food Packaging Researchers in the Netherlands are developing intelligent packaging that will release a preservative if the food within begins to spoil. E coli bacteria died on immediate direct contact with aggregates of carbon nanotubes.’ which absorbs oxygen. nano titanium dioxide and carbon nanotubes are also predicted for future use in antimicrobial food packaging. the release of nanochemicals will occur in response to a particular trigger event. antioxidants. Nano magnesium oxide. The exchange can proceed in both directions.Kodak is also developing other ‘active packaging. It has been recently discovered that they might exhibit powerful antimicrobial effects. In the future active nano-coatings may also be applied on food packaging.[24] [28] Antimicrobial agents are also being used to preserve food. that are designed not to be released.3 Nanotechnology in food industry resultant bottle is both lighter and stronger than glass and is less likely to shatter. Conversely. The SAMSUNG refrigerator and food container Fresher Longer are coated with antimicrobial nanosilver particles. keeping the beer fresher and giving it up to a six-month shelf life [7] [8] [9] [24]. fragrances into the food or beverage to extend its shelf life or to improve its taste or smell. The nanocomposite structure minimises loss of carbon dioxide from the beer and the ingress of oxygen to the bottle. Carbon Nanotubes are cylinders with nanoscale diameters that can be used in food packaging to improve its mechanical properties. Kodak is using nanotech to develop antimicrobial packaging for food products capable of detecting food spoilage and releasing nano-antimicrobes to extend food shelf life . designed to release biocides in response to the growth of a microbial population. Some of these are made with nanotechnology. Now nanotechnology is enabling the development of nanoscale edible . humidity or other changing conditions. nano packaging using carbon nanotubes is being developed with the ability to ‘pump’ out oxygen or carbon dioxide that would otherwise result in food or beverage deterioration Nano packaging that can absorb undesirable flavours is also in development. that is. In many instances chemical release packaging also incorporates surveillance elements.

confectionery. antioxidants. The nanoparticles are dispersed throughout the plastic and are able to block oxygen. It frequently lines the inside of food packaging films. This new class of material can potentially improve food packaging) [15] [16] [37] CONCEPT: Researchers at Bayer Polymers are now making plastic packaging even more airtight using new nanoparticles technology. which are invisible to the human eye. bakery goods and fast food. and the exit of moisture. and could also increase the shelf life of manufactured foods. nano clay refers to plastic materials with small amounts of clay added to them. they can be combined into multilayered systems: three-ply films for simple applications. [24] [12] Packaging film with built-in oxygen barrier [15] (Polymer nanocomposites are formed by adding nano particulates to a polymer matrix. five. cheese. the plastic does a better job of preventing food from going bad on the shelf. seven or even more layers for tougher demands. nor get inside and make it soggy.[37] When processed into thin films.4 Nanotechnology in food industry coatings as thin as 5nm wide. The miniature barriers prevent the infiltration of liquids and gases. carbon dioxide and moisture from reaching fresh meats or other foods. the enhanced films make sure the smell of different foods does not mix and they keep food from going stale. Polyethylene is considered to be the plastic of choice for acting as a barrier against water vapour. The nanoclay also makes the plastic lighter. save it from contamination and improve shelf life of the food. meaning that meat and cheese stay fresh longer. enzymes and anti-browning agents. act as a vehicle to deliver colours. They could provide a barrier to moisture and gas exchange. Edible nano coatings could be used on meats. higher . These massively reduce the entrance of oxygen and other gases. thus preventing food from spoiling. fruit and vegetables. making sure that moisture can neither escape and let the cheese or meat inside dry out. [4] [10] Knowing the advantages of various plastics. A few molecules of clay are sandwiched between layers of plastics (polymers). even after the packaging is opened [15] Using Clay Nanoparticles to Improve Plastic Packaging for Food Products Chemical giant Bayer produces a transparent plastic film Durethan KU22601 containing nanoparticles of clay. The primary purpose of food packaging films is to prevent contents from drying out and to protect them from moisture and oxygen. Welded airtight.[10] [11] [12] [13] [14] resistance to permeability and higher heat stability. stronger and more heat-resistant. flavours. The new plastic film is known as a “hybrid system” that is enriched with an enormous number of silicate nanoparticles Miniature silicate platelets incorporated in a plastic the right way can decisively improve the properties of packaging film. resulting in a 'supermaterial' with numerous enhanced properties: greater strength. They are called nanocomposite materials because the clay must be mixed into the plastic at the nanometric scale.

thus allowing easy detection of contaminated food or beverages.[9] The electrodes or the active layer can be structured at the nanometre scale. which is commonly used in electronic circuits. When bound. If the pest is present in a food product. they act as barriers. leading to an electronic signal warning for the presence of the pest. Many sensors used for olfactory applications are based on MOSFET (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) technology.5 Nanotechnology in food industry The substance most feared among food packaging engineers is oxygen. For example. [33] NANO SENSORS The exciting possibility of combining biology and nanoscale technology into sensors holds the potential of increased sensitivity and therefore a significantly reduced response-time to sense potential problems. The new film material with nanoparticles unites the advantages of these two common plastics: it is inexpensive but still very airtight. for example. making it difficult for unwanted substances like oxygen to pass through the packaging. not as good as EVOH. A number of research reports have described the detection methods for toxins. or the presence of an organic substance or gas into an electronic signal. A typical nanosensor would be the “electronic nose”. Nano-sized carbon tubes coated with DNA strands can be used to create nanosensors that have the ability to detect odours and tastes. oxygen molecules literally have to zigzag around the silicate platelets. Only two plastics were available in the past to prevent these unwanted reactions: inexpensive but somewhat more permeable polyamide 6 for less sensitive foods. The cantilever bends under the additional weight. [33] [28] BACTERIA IDENTIFICATION AND ELIMINATION: Nano carbohydrate particles bind with bacteria so they can be detected and eliminated [24]. and moisture from escaping. The more intense the glow is. be used for pest control of [10] MONITORING QUALTITY OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS DETECTING CONTAMINATION OF FOODS Other organizations are looking at ways in which nanotechnology can offer improvements in sensitivity or ease by which contamination of food is detected. This effect is so strong that it cuts the permeability of the film by half compared to conventional polyamides. the higher the bacterial contamination. allergens. but much better than simple polyamide 6. AgroMicron has developed the NanoBioluminescence Detection Spray which contains a luminescent . because it spoils the fat in meat and cheese and turns them pale. toxins and chemicals in foods. bacteria and viruses using nanotechnology. A nanosensor is a device consisting of an electronic data processing part and a sensing layer or part. Nanosensors can easily detect pathogens. They increase the distance the gas molecules have to travel on their way through a film. and expensive but more airtight ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) for sensitive products. Nanosensors can be connected to an electronic or wireless network. They can. Cantilever sensors are particularly interesting because they work in liquids. Such a cantilever sensor is equipped with tiny cantilevers with a biochemical layer which can detect the presence of a pest or disease. coli. it emits a visible glow. The embedded particles – which are only a few nanometres thick – prevent gases from penetrating the film. [24] protein that has been engineered to bind to the surface of microbes such as Salmonella and E. molecules typical for that pest attach to the detection layer. With a mazelike arrangement in the plastic. The whole device is usually at the scale of centimetres. which can translate a signal such as light.

which need to be scanned manually and read individually. A bio analytical nanosensor that could detect a single virus particle long before the virus multiplies and long before symptoms were evident in the plants or animals. or fungi affecting fruit . which consists of microprocessors and an antenna that can transmit data to a wireless receiver. pathogens and toxins in food.[6] [18] (Hourglass-shaped freshness label for meat products is another example where nano-sensors are used in smart packaging. This consists of an array of nanosensors which are extremely sensitive to gases released by food as it spoils.6 Nanotechnology in food industry crops growing in the field or for quality control of milk during industrial processing. consumers will be able to “read” the food inside. giving a clear visible signal of whether the food is fresh or not. these tags should become . RFID tags do not require line-of-sight for reading and it is possible to automatically read hundreds of tags a second .[24] The project is also developing a device using DNA biochips to detect pathogensa technique that could also be applied to determine the presence of different kinds of harmful bacteria in meat or fish. When the meat is no longer suitable for sale. causing the sensor strip to change colour as a result.[37] [24] Nano sensor: Colour indicating tags attached as a small adhesive label to the outside of packaging film can be used to monitor the freshness of perishable food products such as seafood. Kraft foods.) [18] IN MONITORING FOOD ITEMS Nanotechnology has also found applications in monitoring and tagging of food items. This gets rid of the need to send samples to laboratories (which is both costly and lengthy). is developing an “electronic tongue” for inclusion in packaging. the bottom half of the label “fills up”. With the fusion of nanotechnology and electronics (nanotronics).The project also has plans to develop microarray sensors that can be used to identify pesticides on fruit and vegetables as well as those which will monitor environmental conditions at the farm. more and more ammonia is released and like an hourglass. Consumers can judge the product’s freshness at a glance.[37] Embedded Sensors in Food Packaging and ‘Electronic Tongue’ Technology There are several organizations developing Smart Packaging systems. Unlike bar codes. along with researchers at Rutgers University in the US. can be used to monitor an item from the warehouse to the consumer’s hands. The technology. [13] [32] Researchers in the Good Food Project have developed a portable nanosensor to detect chemicals. The nanosensors may for example change colour if the food is no longer fresh. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology can now be used for food monitoring in shops to improving supply chain efficiency. For example.The main drawback is the increased production costs due to silicon manufacturing. With embedded nanosensors in the packaging. processing or at the packaging plant. allowing food to be analysed for safety and quality at the farm during transport. These have been coined “Good Food sensors”. the ink blocks the barcode at the bottom so that it cannot be scanned at the cash register. The label contains special ink that changes its colour depending upon the amount of ammonia emitted by the meat As the meat ages. Sensors can alarm us before the food goes rotten or can inform us the exact nutrition status contained in the contents and show whether the product is still fit for human consumption.

and reading this code requires an electronic data reader. place of packaging. Nanotechnology can be applied in all aspects of the food chain. Nanoscale IP holds the possibility of the continuous tracking and recording of the history which a particular agricultural experiences. [25] Nano-sensors. Implementing nanotechnology. The general public lacks awareness of nanotechnology in general. Instead. An identity preservation(IP) system can be installed that creates increased value by providing consumers with information about the practices and activities used to produce and agricultural product. both for improving food safety and quality control. would also act as electronic barcodes. to be tracked from farm to factory to supermarket and beyond. thereby helping in controlling the quality of the food product and give all relevant details in minute Each day a huge amount of shipments of agricultural products are moved all over the world and it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep a track on critical control points of the production. other information etc. embedded into food products as tiny chips that were invisible to the human eye. they may be more reactive. but there are significant concerns being raised as no one knows what the health or environmental impacts will be.[37] Nano based identity preservation has the potential to revolutionize the agricultural industry as it can continuously track and record history of a particular agricultural product. The keys are biodegradable sensors for temperature and other data containing history of the stored food for both physical and biological. so consumers may be buying them without even knowing. shipment and storage processes. They would emit a signal that would allow food. POTENTIAL RISKS: Using technology to increase the nutrient value. It is nothing but an electronic data depicting several parameters such as date of production.[24] NANO BAR CODES & IDENTITY PRESERVATION Bar code is a sticker having a number of black and white bars with certain digits written at the bottom. More research needs to be done to prove the safety of nanotechnology in the food supply. Investment in this area of . [36] A small amount of research has found that nanoparticles do not exhibit the same properties as their larger counterparts. Hence we can track all the stages in the life of the product Quality assurance of agricultural products’ safety and security could be significantly improved through IP at the nanoscale. nano based bar codes are also available which can do the same functions as conventional bar codes. records of place and date of production. prices etc. including fresh food. [25] [35] product Nano-barcode particles with different patterns of gold (Au) and silver (Ag) stripes. [32] Nanofoods that are already on the market do not have to be labelled as such. The nanoscale monitors linked to recording and tracking devices can improve the IP of food and agricultural products. more mobile and more toxic to people and the environment. This must be addressed in public dialogue initiatives in the short term.[37] FUTURE PROSPECTS: Nanotechnology is going to change the fabrication of the whole packaging industry. shelf-life and safety of foods sounds like a great idea. which may lead to unforeseen health risks.7 Nanotechnology in food industry cheaper. and as novel food ingredients or additives. easier to implement and more efficient. and applications of nanotechnology in food in particular.

Pharmaceuticals and Household Products (Azonanotechnology Article) Nanotechnology and Food Packaging. nanotechnology applications in agriculture and food sector make all the more relevance and importance since the Indian economy is predominantly agriculture and given the large population to feed. Nanotechnology can prove to be a boon to mankind. stronger mechanical and thermal performance. consumers will be able to “read” the food inside. Further. AzoNanotechnology Article http://nanotechknowledge. CONCLUSION: Simple conventional packing is to be replaced with multi-functional intelligent packaging methods to improve the food quality using nanotechnology. Thus. Although nanotechnologies do pose some potential risks. Environment friendly technologies like green packaging have also been developed. G Asadi M Mousavi [4] Delta Farm press Nanotechnology for food Safety Jan. com/ Top 10 uses of nano Technology [6] Nano Sensors Wikipedia [7] Nanoparticles make Durethan® films airtight and glossy. vegetable. REFERENCES: Nanotechnologies in Food by Qasim Chaudhary Nano-Enabled Packaging for the Food and Beverage Industry: a Technology. Nanotechnology has the potential to increase product safety and its nutritional values. Beverages. These properties can significantly increase the shelf life. Industry and Market Analysis July 2009 [2] Nanotech News Bright Future for Nanotechnology in food and beverage packaging [3] Applications of Nanotechnology in Food Packaging. This offers as much potential as challenges in the sector. people can also produce bottles and packages with more light resistance. With embedded nanosensors in the packaging. 2009 8:31am [5] Smart Packaging – Intelligent Packaging for Food. beverage and other foods. and facilitate transportation & usage.com [10] Agriculture & Nanotechnology Alan Johnson [11] Nanotechnology & food Nano BioRaise [12] Nano Food Report Friends of the Earth [1] . For India. and quality of agricultural products and food systems. 5. and less gas absorption. nanostructured film can effectively prevent the food from the invasion of bacteria microorganism and ensure the food safety. applications of nanotechnology in agriculture can prove to be a big boon.8 Nanotechnology in food industry research has the potential to significantly enhance the safety. It has been predicted that no branch of science will remain unaffected by nanotechnology in the next 50-70 years. More flexible packaging methods will provide the consumers with fresher and customized products. the plastics can obtain various gas/water vapour permeability to fit the requirements of preserving fruit. efficiently preserve flavour & colour. the food security concern is all the more serious.blogspot. security. The Indian agricultural scenario is also characterized by diversity of soils & agro-climatic conditions and thus diversity in crops and fluctuation in productivity. Nanotechnology applications can bring a change in the agriculture scenario of India.[32] Nanotechnology can help in cutting down waste [38]. they can apparently be resolved by further investigation in this field and by certain corrective measures. Securely Wrapped [8] Plastics reseacrch online Plastics Nanotechnology Improved gas-impermeable. With different nanostructure.[4] In this paper we see how by adding nanoparticles. Self-assembly will reduce the fabrication costs and infrastructure. Sensors can alarm us before the food goes rotten or can inform us the exact nutrition status contained in the contents. transparent food packaging [9] Fundamentals and Applications of Nanotechnology Scribd.

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