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Nanosilver and food

Nanotechnology has an impact on the food industry, from how food is grown and produced, processed to how it is packaged, transported and consumed. Companies are developing nanomaterials that will make a difference not only in the taste of food, but also in food safety, and the health benefits that food delivers. A report estimates that the worldwide nanotech food market may total more than $20 billion by 2020.
Smart packages
Well-known applications of pure silver or silver-coated nanoparticles in food packaging materials are for plastic bags, containers, films or pallet. Researches have developed smart packages that can indicate the spoilage easily by consumers and manufacturers how much milk or meat is fresh. When the product gets oxidised in the package, nano-particles indicates the color change indicating if the product is fresh or not by the color chance of the package due to reaction of changed molecular composition of the milk with nano-particles. There smart packages also indicates if the food product is sterilized or contaminated and control gas exhaust from fruits and their freshness by sensing the change of the color due to CO2 exhaust from the products like cheese and easily indicates if the product is spoiled.
Antimicrobial property
Silver nanoparticles have become the promising antimicrobial material in a variety of applications because they can damage bacterial cells by destroying the enzymes that transport cell nutrient and weakening the cell membrane or cell wall and cytoplasm.
Testing food
Nanotechnology particularly molecular manufacturing technology has the potential for revolutionizing the methods used to test food products for contamination and spoilage using nano sensors. Using nanoparticles, the solubility of vitamins, antioxidants, omega fatty acids and other nutrients can be increased.
Plant uptake
Plants play a major role in food production and supply. But still the mechanisms of nanoparticle phytotoxicity which causes injury to plants is not clearly known and so much so is the fate of uptake of nanoparticles by plants into the food chain. Plants have thick and porous cell walls and a vascular system for water and nutrients uptake. The nanoparticle uptake and their accumulation may have impact on plant structure and their biological and biochemical processes. Research in this area is fairly scant, and among the few studies available, none have used major food crops or carbon nanoparticles. The interaction between nanoparticles and plants currently is poorly understood.
Nanotoxicology research mainly deals with the potential risk of nanomaterials which affect the human beings transmitted through various routes. Nanosilver used in food storage materials is found to interfere with DNA replication and acts as an antibiotic to human health. A study reports that nano silver particles can bind with double-stranded DNA and possibly result in compromised DNA replication fidelity both in vitro and in vivo.

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