Safety of Nanotechnology in Foods

MOSFETs are made by means of small nanowires ~10 nm in length. Electronic is one of the major application of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology involves the control of matter on the atomic and molecular scale, normally below 100 nanometers.

Nanotech has many potential applications for food industry. The following are just imaginations but are not impossible. 1) Salted eggs made in minutes instead of weeks by means of injecting salt through shells. 2) Faster and more efficient way to inject flavors to ham. 3) Through nanotech, food texture, taste and nutritional value can be modified. 4) A nanotech that detects freshness and spoilage of food. 4) It is also possible for nanotech to remove natural toxins in crops such as cyanide in cassava or the aflatoxins in grains. dot illustrations

Nanotechnology for food applications are still under development but some nano products are already available for use. Lightweight bottles, cartons and packaging films have clay nanocomposites that provide impermeable barrier to oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gases. Food storage bins are embedded with silver nanoparticles to kill harmful bacteria.

Some great things comes with great side effects. The discovery of nuclear energy lead to creation of nuclear power plant, a cheap and sustainable power source. On the downside, the effects of Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion was enormous.Many people died including plants, animals, water species. Soil water and air were contaminated. Many people were evacuated. Up to now many of produce near the blast site are restricted from entering the human food chain.

Another very useful invention is the CFC or the chlorofluorocarbon. This chemical is very safe and it was widely use as refrigerant and in aerosol sprays. Then someone discovered that CFC is damaging the earth’s protective atmosphere, the ozone layer.

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or DDT was used for treatment of malaria and typhus during the World War II. It was widely used as agricultural pesticide after the war. It was discovered in 1874 and was banned in 1972 due to its negative health and environmental impact.

Genetically modified organism (GMO) is another great invention. Just like nanotechnology in foods, the possible risks to environment and human health are still undocumented.

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