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TitleProtein nanostructures in food - Should we be worried?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsRaynes, J.K., Carver J.A., Gras S.L., and Gerrard J.A.
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Pagination42 - 50
Date Published2014
ISSN09242244 (ISSN)
KeywordsBalanced assessment, Biochemistry, Delivery mechanism, Food chain, Genetically engineered organisms, Nanostructures, Novel foods, Processing, Proteins
AbstractNanotechnology promises to affect many aspects of our lives with its development being greeted with both excitement and fear. The debate concerning nanotechnology has echoed that of genetically engineered organisms and their introduction into the environment and the food chain. Nanotechnology offers many potential advantages in the processing and manufacture of foods: enhanced bioavailability, colour and flavour; novel food textures; new delivery mechanisms; and access to biosensors to enhance food safety. In fact, many of the foods we have been consuming for centuries already contain nanostructures, leading many to assume that they are safe. The extent to which novel nanostructures may afford new risks has not been adequately resolved, however, leading to concern within some consumer groups. In this article, we use proteins as a case study to explore our current understanding of nanostructures in foods and the extent to which novel nanostructures may introduce new properties. It is well recognised that some protein nanostructures are toxic and are associated with disease, so there is legitimate concern as to whether such species should be deliberately introduced into our foods. This review highlights current literature on protein nanostructures in food and possible risks associated with their use. We aim to provide a balanced assessment to inform future decision-making regarding the utilisation of nanostructures in food. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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