Nanomaterials to Enhance Food Quality, Safety, and Health Impact
Food quality and safety are key aspects to guarantee that foods reach consumers in optimal conditions from the point of view of freshness and microbiology. Nanotechnology offers significant potential to secure or even enhance these aspects. Novel technologies, such as nanofabrication and nanoencapsulation, can provide new added value solutions for the fortification of foods with bioactives and targeted controlled release in the gut. Nanomaterials can also support food preservation aspects by being added directly into a food matrix or into food contact materials such as packaging. Thus, nanomaterials can be leveraged in the form of nanocomposites in food packaging design by melt compounding, solvent casting, lamination or electrohydrodynamic processing (EHDP) to promote passive, active, and even bioactive properties such as barrier, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and oxygen scavenging roles and the controlled release of functional ingredients. These attributes can be exerted either by the intended or non-intended migration of the nanomaterials or by the active substances they may carry. Lastly, nanomaterials can be advantageously applied to provide unique opportunities in Circular Bioeconomy strategies in relation to the valorization of, for instance, agro-industrial wastes and food processing by-products.