Nanotechnologies for Food and
Benefits and Implications for Human Health and the Environment
25th – 26th March 2010
University of Chester, Chester
The Organising Committee welcomes all delegates to the 1st Conference on Nanotechnologies for
Food and Consumer Products. This is the third of three conferences that have been organised by
the Centre for Science Communication (in association with the Society for Food & Agricultural
Immunology) as part of the Chester Food Science Week (22nd – 26th March, 2010).
The main aim of the conference is to provide an overview of nanotechnologies in relation to food; in
particular their opportunities for application and use by the food industry, as well as the advantages
and disadvantages in relation to human health and environment quality. This is an emerging area
and it is hoped that this meeting will also help identify areas for future research and development.
Increased awareness of not only innovation but also regulation in this field will also be of importance
to the Food and Drink Industry which contributes significantly the UK economy and is a major
employer within the North West region of England. It is hoped that this meeting will facilitate creation
of a network of professionals with this shared interest.
We are delighted to welcome presenters and delegates not just from the UK, but also from Europe
and beyond who will help give the meeting an international flavour. The organisers hope that you
will enjoy your visit to Chester and find that it provides ‘food for thought’.
The organisers gratefully acknowledge the support of Food North West and European Regional
The organisers would also like to thank the oral presenters and delegates for their contributions and
Special thanks are due to Professor Qasim Chaudhry of the UK Food & Environment Research
Agency, the Society for Food & Agricultural Immunology, Professor Chris Smith and Louisa Scarre
(the Meeting Secretariat) for their considerable efforts, without which this event would not have
Food and Environmental Quality Research Unit
The Centre for Science Communication
All oral presentations will be held in Beswick 017 or Beswick 013
Lunch and Refreshments will be served in the Small Hall
Dinner is served in Dining Hall. All of these are marked on the campus map
Thursday 25th March 2010
09.30 – 10.00 Registration
10.00 – 10.15 Conference Opening – Sarah Andrew (University of Chester, UK)
10.15 – 11.00 Nanotechnology has arrived – The food sector should not be left out?
Alan Smith (AZ-Technology, UK)
11.00 – 11.30 REFRESHMENTS
What applications are there?
11.30 – 12.15 Nanotechnology and food - why should the food industry be interested?
Kathy Groves (Leatherhead Food Research Institute, UK)
12.15 – 13.00 Packaging and nanotechnology
Graham Moore (PIRA International, UK)
13.00 – 14.00 LUNCH
14.00 – 14.45 The EU Framework 7 Nanolyse Project
Ruud Peters (Wageningen University & Research Centre, NL)
14.45 – 15.05 Structuring in low fat, saturated fat systems
Niall Young et al. (Danisco A/S, Denmark)
15.05 – 15.25 Milk proteins as nano-vehicles for health promoting compounds
Yoav Livney et al. (Technion, IIT, Israel)
15.25 – 15.45 Effect of nano-ZnO particles coating on plasticizer migration from polyvinyl chloride
film to solvents
Xihong Li et al. (University of Beijing, China)
15.45 – 16.00 REFRESHMENTS
Support for Innovation and Training
16.00 – 16.30 Opportunities for growth and development in the North West food and drink sector
Mark Bareham (North West Development Agency, UK)
16.30 – 17.00 Knowledge transfer and product development for the Food & Drink Sector
Chris Edwards (Reaseheath College, UK)
Friday 26th March 2010
Regulation and consumer protection
09.00 – 09.45 The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report on the use of
nanotechnology in food products and the food industry (January 2010).
Neil Hargreaves (Innovate Quality Food, UK)
09.45 – 10.30 A multi criteria decision model as a basis for the harmonization of
Ville Flari (Food & Environment Research Agency, UK)
10.30 – 11.00 REFRESHMENTS AND NETWORKING
11.00 – 11.45 Future applications – the potential for nanotechnology
Qasim Chaudhry (Food & Environment Research Agency, UK)
11.45 – 12.15 Detection methods for nanoparticles
Ping Luo (Food & Environment Research Agency, UK)
12.15 – 12.45 Training and accreditation for the food and drink sector
Justine Fosh (National Skills Academy, UK)
12.45 – 13.45 LUNCH
13.45 – 14.20 Regulatory areas of nanotechnology
Anna Gergely (Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Belgium)
Potential risks and benefits
14.20 – 15.00 What are the benefits of nanotechnology
Frans Kampers (Wageningen University Research, The Netherlands)
15.00 – 15.30 What are the potential risks of nanotechnology
Qasim Chaudhry (Food & Environment Research Agency, UK)
15.30 – 16.00 Science, policy, aspirations for new products and concerns of consumers
Sandy Lawry (Food Standards Agency, UK)
Summing up and open forum discussion
16.00 – 16.15 Creation of a Regional / National Food Nanotechnology Forum / Network and closing
NANOTECHNOLOGY HAS ARRIVED! - THE FOOD SECTOR SHOULD NOT BE LEFT BEHIND
AZ Technology, UK
Nanotechnologies have been hailed as the next industrial revolution, and are already being used in
over 1,000 new products, with the potential growth being viewed as enormous. The market value
for nanotechnology-based products has been estimated to reach $1 trillion by 2015. Some of these
new products are already being found in the food sector and we are likely to see many more in the
near future, with market estimates of $20 billion suggested by the end of 2010.
Properties change at the nano-scale (one millionth of a millimetre) and as a consequence we are
beginning to see new products being developed which offer:
- Lighter weight materials for packaging, based on clay-containing nanocomposites, which
retain strength but provide thinner films.
- Novel barrier properties which enable longer storage times, because they prevent UV light
degrading the product, and prevent ingression of oxygen.
- Antimicrobials for surfaces and packaging, predominantly incorporating silver nanoparticles.
- Functional coatings for various uses, such as anti-scratch, super-hydrophobicity, and
- Food spoilage detection, based on molecular sensor technology for rapid detection of
salmonella, listeria, etc.
- Changes in texture, taste and health improvement that can be achieved.
The media, fuelled by lobbying groups, has drawn
attention to the topic, but there are endless
examples in nature of evolution making use of
nanotechnologies; milk contains nanoparticulate
casein and meat’s nanostructure changes as it is
cooked; even whiskey contains nanoparticles.
Most products that have been ground down are
likely to contain some nanoparticles. The
beneficial effects of nanotechnologies far
outweigh any potential risks, and it is only a very
small part of what are being classified as
nanotechnologies for which, as government
reports suggest, we should proceed with caution.
Europe should not be left behind in this exciting
NANOTECHNOLOGY AND FOOD – WHY SHOULD THE FOOD INDUSTRY BE INTERESTED?
Leatherhead Food Research, UK
There are many demands on the food industry to deliver new products that are healthier, “natural”,
good value for money, tasty but convenient, and appealing to the consumer. The foods must be
safe and also produced in an energy efficient way that is as sustainable as possible. All these
drivers are extensive and mean that to be able to meet the demands the industry must be aware
and if possible make use of new technologies.
Nanotechnology offers the potential for a huge advance in benefits to the industry and also the
consumer. These are in all the areas associated with food production from processes through
manufacture to packaging and shelf-life.
This presentation will present a brief overview of the potential applications of nanotechnologies, with
an emphasis on the development of food products and the role of food ingredients. Examples will be
shown of the presence of nano-sized structures naturally present in foods and the potential
applications where new technologies might help. Leatherhead Food Research has a
nanotechnology working group which is made up of members of the food industry. In addition to
reporting on new developments in nanotechnology, the group has been carrying out small feasibility
studies with different technologies to assess the potential benefits. An outline of some of these
results will be shown.
PACKAGING AND NANOTECHNOLOGY
Pira International, UK
The uptake of nanotechnology based developments in packaging applications has been increasing
in recent times. Sales of nanorelated packaging products in the food and beverage related sectors
have risen significantly, but still only constitute a small part of overall packaging sales. Potential
future growth is high.
What are the drivers behind such growth and where are the opportunities in the sector?
The paper will attempt to answer these questions by examining the opportunities offered to the
packaging sector through the application of nanotechnology based developments.
These will include:
- enhancement of the barrier performance
- improving packaging’s ‘green credentials’
- improving security features
- prolonging shelf life
- antimicrobial functionality
Commercial realisation of such opportunities is currently low, but some examples are now coming
through to the market place. A number of the key considerations necessary to further increase the
commercial take up are explored.
Nanotechnology already offers the route to material science enhancement which will feed through to
improvements in materials performance. In the longer term, application of nanotechnology has the
potential to change fabrication of the whole packaging sector and bring about packaging innovation.
NANOPARTICLES IN FOOD, FOOD PACKAGING AND PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS
Ruud Peters, Rob Bakker, Elly Wijma, Stefan Weigel and Hans Bouwmeester
RIKILT – Institute of Food Safety, Wageningen, The Netherlands
The potential benefits for consumers and producers of the application of nanotechnology are widely
recognized. Products based on nanotechnology or containing engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) are
already manufactured in the field of electronics, consumer products and pharmaceutical industry,
and are beginning to impact the food associated industries. Detection and characterization of ENPs
in food and non-food materials is an essential part of understanding the potential benefits as well as
the potential risks of the application of ENPs. Currently, there are no adequate analytical methods to
characterise the ENPs in food and therefore the current usage levels of ENPs in the food and feed
area is unknown. Clearly a variety of ENPs are claimed to be used in food packaging and non-food
materials, some food supplements and even some food products; e.g.silica, silver, titanium, copper,
gold and zinc. This indicates that direct and indirect consumer exposure to ENPs is likely.
Following a brief introduction to current applications of ENPs in food, non-food and food contact
materials, methods are presented for the detection and characterisation of inorganic ENPs in food,
food packaging materials as well as personal care products. Generally, physical preparation and
separation methods are used and combined with instrumental techniques such as hydrodynamic
chromatography and ICP-MS. While these methods do not guarantee the conservation of the actual
aggregation state of the ENPs, it does allow size separation and chemical characterisation of ENPs.
Types of ENPs included are silica, silver, gold, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The presentation will
show some of the results of these methods including the presence of inorganic ENPs in food
supplements that are marketed on the internet, of silica ENPs in food items, in coffee creamer and
in coffee as we consume it, and the presence of silver ENPs in packaging materials and titanium
and zinc oxide ENPs in personal care products.
IN-LINE VISCOSITY AND SOLID FAT CONTENT (SFC) MEASUREMENT OF FAT BLENDS
WITH ULTRASOUND BASED IN-LINE RHEOMETRY
Paul Wassell1, Johan Wiklund2, Mats Stading2, Graham Bonwick3, Christopher Smith3,
Eva Almiron-Roig3 and Niall W.G. Young1
Danisco A/S, Brabrand, Denmark; 2 The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology and
Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden; 3Environmental Quality & Food Safety
Research Unit, University of Chester, UK
We present the validation of a new, upgraded ultrasonic velocity profiling with pressure difference
(UVP-PD) equipment allowing true in-line rheological and solid fat content (SFC) characterisation of
complex opaque fat blends under real, dynamic processing conditions. The new equipment has
successfully confirmed previous non-invasive, in-line measurements for instantaneous velocity and
rheological profiling of complex opaque fat blends (Young et al, 2008); plus allowed for in-line
measurements under dynamic processing conditions to obtain the SFC of a fat blend of 30% palm
stearin and 70% rapeseed oil over a temperature range of 10 – 40°C. These measurements
correlated well with standard SFC values from p-NMR measurements deviating not more than +/-
2% SFC points from the standard p-NMR values.
Young, N.W.G., Wassell, P, Wiklund, J. and Stading, M. (2008) Monitoring structurants of fat blends
with ultrasound based in-line rheometry (UVP-PD). International Journal of Food Science and
Technology 43, 2083-2089.
MILK-PROTEINS AS NANOVEHICLES FOR HEALTH-PROMOTING COMPOUNDS
Yoav D. Livney
Laboratory of Biopolymers and Food Nanotechnology, Department of Biotechnology and Food
Engineering, The Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 32000 (Israel).
Several major milk proteins and their assemblies have naturally evolved as vehicles for essential
micronutrients. The casein micelle, a prominent example, is a fascinating nanostructure designed
by nature to concentrate, stabilize, and deliver calcium and protein from mother to newborn. Beta-
casein (β-CN), is a natural self-assembler, capable of forming block-copolymer-like micelles of
about 12-13 nm in diameter[3; 4]. Beta-lactoglobulin (β-Lg), the major cow-milk whey protein, is a
member of the lipocalin protein family, some of whose members, e.g. retinol-binding-protein, are
known to function as molecular carriers for hydrophobic ligands. β-Lg it is known to bind several
ligands important for health, like retinol and vitamin D. We recently found it can also bind omega-
This talk will overview several novel technologies we have introduced for harnessing milk proteins
and their assemblies or complexes with polysaccharides, as nanovehicles for the protection and
delivery of health promoting compounds. Some of the highlighted examples will include: (a)
Reformed casein micelles for nanoencapsulation of vitamin D and other hydrophobic compounds.
We have shown that these casein micelles provide significant protection to the encapsulated vitamin
against heat, UV, and during shelf life in cold storage. (b) Beta-CN micellar nanoparticles for
encapsulation of hydrophobic nutraceuticals in neutral or acid clear beverages, and for oral
delivery of drugs. (c) β-Lg-pectin nanocomplexes for the entrapment and protection of omega-3
fatty acids like DHA, and (d) Heat denatured (β-Lg ) as a vehicle for important health promoting
polyphenolic compounds, providing protection against their oxidation in clear drinks.
New findings will be presented, and current challenges and opportunities will be discussed.
 Y.D. Livney, Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science In Press, doi:
 C.G. DeKruif, and C. Holt, Casein micelle structure, functions and interactions. in: P.F. Fox, and
P.L.H. McSweeney, (Eds.), Advanced Dairy Chemistry, Vol.1, Proteins, Part A, Kluwer
Academic/ Plenum Publishers, New York, 2003, pp. 233-276.
 C.G. de Kruif, and V.Y. Grinberg, Colloids and Surfaces, A: Physicochemical and Engineering
Aspects 210, 183-190 (2002).
 I. Portnaya, U. Cogan, Y.D. Livney, O. Ramon, K. Shimoni, M. Rosenberg, and D. Danino,
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 54, 5555-5561 (2006).
 L. Sawyer, Beta-Lactoglobulin. in: P.F. Fox, and P.L.H. McSweeney, (Eds.), Advanced Dairy
Chemistry, Proteins, Part A, Kluwer Academic/ Plenum Publishers, New York, 2003, pp.
 Q.W. Wang, J.C. Allen, and H.E. Swaisgood, Journal of Dairy Science 80, 1054-1059 (1997).
 P. Zimet, and Y.D. Livney, Food Hydrocolloids 23, 1120-1126 (2009).
 E. Semo, E. Kesselman, D. Danino, and Y.D. Livney, Food Hydrocolloids 21, 936-942 (2007).
 J. Bargarum, D. Danino, and Y.D. Livney, IFT 2009 Anaheim, CA, USA (2009).
 A. Shapira, Y.G. Assaraf, and Y.D. Livney, Nanomedicine In Press
 A. Shpigelman, and Y.D. Livney, In Preparation.
Effect of Nano-ZnO Particles Coating on Plasticizer Migration from Polyvinyl Chloride Film to
Xihong Li, Li Li, Yunhong Jiang, Zhaojun Ban
University of Beijing, China
The morphology, elongation at break and tensile strength of the nano-ZnO particles coating films
were examined in this investigation. And the effect of nano-ZnO coating samples on the migration of
dioctylphthalate (DOP) plasticizer from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film into garlic stem juice and 3%
acetic acid was studied as a function time at 4℃ and 22℃. Food-grade PVC film was coated 0.09
mg/cm2 and 0.18 mg/cm2 nano-ZnO particles, respectively. Determination of the DOP migration
amount was performed using solid-phase extraction combining with high performance liquid
The analysis revealed that the nano-ZnO particles showed little effects on the tensile strength and
elongation at break of ZnO-coated film compared to that of the blank film as control. There was a
significant difference for amount of DOP migration between nano-ZnO coating PVC film and control
samples at 4℃ and 22℃, respectively. The results also showed that addition of nano-ZnO particles
on the PVC films took a negative effect on the migration of DOP into food simulating solvents. The
study indicated that PVC film coating with nano-ZnO particles had a good potential to be used as
OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE NORTH WEST
FOOD & DRINK SECTOR
North West Development Agency, Warrington, UK
The paper will outline the role and remit of the Regional Development Agencies in the UK, and how
that fits with government policies. It will focus specifically on the Northwest Development Agency
and how we work in partnership across the region. The size and impact of the food and drink
industry in the northwest will be examined, both as an economic driver but also across a number of
The role that the agency sees innovation and research playing within the industry will be outlined
and why we seek to develop and nurture innovation within the region. The levers that the NWDA
uses to stimulate innovation in the food and drink industry will also be discussed.
THE HOUSE OF LORDS SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE USE OF
NANOTECHNOLOGY IN FOOD PRODUCTS AND THE FOOD INDUSTRY
Innovate Quality Food, UK
During the 2009-10 session The House of Lords Scientific and Technology Committee formed a
sub-committee to make an inquiry into the use and impact of nanotechnology in food. The inquiry
essentially started in December 2008 with a ‘call for evidence’. The final report of the inquiry was
published in January 2010.
This talk will illustrate how the committee defined the scope of this inquiry, how it obtained the
information it needed, the contributors to the inquiry providing this information and giving scientific
guidance, and finally what conclusions it came to. These conclusions resulted in 32
recommendations that were addressed to government agencies, the food industry in general, the
Research communities, legislative bodies and stakeholder groups.
FUTURE APPLICATIONS – THE POTENTIAL OF NANOTECHNOLOGIES
The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York.
Like other sectors, rapid developments in nanosciences and nanotechnologies have opened up a lot
of new opportunities for innovation in the food and related sectors. These developments are likely to
have a major impact on our future food production, processing, packaging, transportation, storage,
as well as in terms of development of new tastes and textures, and healthy-option food products.
Although the current level of nanotechnology applications for food and beverage products in Europe
is only marginal, a number of products are already available elsewhere in the world, and more
developments are reported to be in the R&D pipeline. An overview of the current and potential
applications of nanotechnologies for the food and related sectors will be presented, and the main
market drivers for such innovations will be discussed.
DETECTION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF ENGINEERED NANOPARTICLES IN COMPLEX
Karen Tiede, Ping Luo and, Alistair B. A. Boxall
EcoChemistry Team, University of York/Fera, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ, United Kingdom
Nanotechnology is a fast growing market and engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) are finding
widespread applications. These applications include use in a variety of consumer products from
cosmetics, medical application to packaging materials, processing technologies and novel or
functional foods. During their manufacture and use, human exposure and the releases of ENPs to
the environment are inevitable. The proliferation of nanotechnology has therefore prompted
concerns over the risks of adverse effects of ENPs on organisms in the environment and on the
potential direct and indirect exposure of humans. However, research to address these concerns is
still in the fledgling stages and the development and application of adequate analytical techniques
for the detection and characterization of ENPs in e.g. food and natural samples is challenging.
This presentation will give an overview of available analytical methods for the measurement,
characterization, detection and chemical analysis of engineered nanoparticles in food, biological
material and a range of environmental matrices. The presentation will cover separation technologies
(e.g. HDC, FFF), chemical analysis methods (including ICP-MS) and microscopy approaches (AFM,
SEM, WetSEMTM and TEM). The application of the approaches will be illustrated using real world
examples. The advantages and limitations of different approaches will be discussed and priorities
for future research will be highlighted.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF NANOTECHNOLOGY?
Wageningen University Research, The Netherlands
The world views nanotechnologies as the motor of the next economic upsurge. As an enabling
technology, it can be applied in many different fields, including food and nutrition. Since food usually
is a nanostructured material it can easily be understood that if certain properties of a foodstuff need
to be modified, that very often requires changes at the nanolevel. In this way nanotechnologies
could very well make important contributions to some of the problems humanity faces at the
moment, including providing sufficient food for an ever growing and wealthier world population;
making diets more healthy to prevent health problems to occur at younger ages; making food
production more sustainable; and innovate food products to address problems like obesity. Food
quality never in history was as good as it is now, but the number of food related hospitalisations
show that there is still much room for improvement. Nanotechnology can be used to improve
sensors and diagnostic systems to monitor food quality and, through better packaging systems, it
can extend the shelf life of food products.
WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL RISKS OF NANOTECHNOLOGIES
The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York.
The sheer size and breadth of the global food sector, worth between 3 and 4 trillion US$ per annum,
makes it a prime target for new emergent technologies like nanotechnologies. Whilst
nanotechnologies offer lots of benefits in terms of improved food tastes, flavours, textures, longer
shelf-life, better safety and traceability, and healthy food products, the potential use of some
insoluble and biopersistent nanomaterials is raising concerns in regard to consumer safety and
An overview of the nature of potential hazard, possible sources of exposure, and risk to the
consumer will be discussed in the light of different types of applications of nanotechnologies.
SCIENCE, POLICY, ASPIRATIONS FOR NEW PRODUCTS AND CONCERNS OF CONSUMERS
Novel Foods Unit, Food Standards Agency
The recent emergence of nanoscience and nanotechnologies poses a number of challenges for
regulators, balancing the need for innovation and economic growth with safeguards that are needed
to manage potential risks to health or the environment. Public acceptance is another key factor in
the viability of new technologies and this is particularly apparent in the food sector where many, if
not most, consumers take a keen interest in what goes into the food that they eat and how it is
In order to manage the responsible and safe development and marketing of products made using
nanotechnologies, the UK Government has recently published an overall strategy which addresses
a range of important factors including support for innovation, public funding of research – particularly
in the health and safety areas – regulation of nanomaterials and products that contain them, and
communication with the public.
While the UK Strategy considers nanotechnologies across all sectors, it applications in the food
sector have been scrutinised in detail by a select committee of the House of Lords. The select
committee’s report includes a series of recommendations, including the establishment of a database
of nanomaterials being researched in the food industry and a public list of products currently on the
UK market that contain nanomaterials. The Government response to these recommendations is
One most important factor in achieving the goals of proportionate regulation, robust safety
assurance and public confidence will be clear and open communication about the application of
nanotechnologies in the food area and about the products that can be made using new
nanomaterials or new production techniques. Regulators, research scientists and food businesses
will all have a role to play if the full benefits are to be attained.