Metallic Nanoparticles in the Food Sector: A Mini-Review
Nanomaterials, and in particular metallic nanoparticles (MNPs), have significantly contributed to the production of healthier, safer, and higher-quality foods and food packaging with special properties, such as greater mechanical strength, improved gas barrier capacity, increased water repellency and ability to inhibit microbial contamination, ensuring higher quality and longer product shelf life. MNPs can also be incorporated into chemical and biological sensors, enabling the design of fast and sensitive monitoring devices to assess food quality, from freshness to detection of allergens, food-borne pathogens or toxins. This review summarizes recent developments in the use of MNPs in the field of food science and technology. Additionally, a brief overview of MNP synthesis and characterization techniques is provided, as well as of the toxicity, biosafety and regulatory issues of MNPs in the agricultural, feed and food sectors.