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Pure Appl. Chem., 2010, Vol. 82, No. 2, pp. 349-372

Published online 2010-01-22

Applications and toxicological issues surrounding nanotechnology in the food industry

Ligeng Xu, Ying Liu, Ru Bai and Chunying Chen*

CAS Key Laboratory for Biological Effects of Nanomaterials and Nanosafety, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Beijing 100190, China

Abstract: With the rapid development of nanotechnology, the presence of nanoparticles (NPs) in commercially available products is becoming more and more common. The field of food nanotechnology has experienced significant growth over the last five years. Agricultural cultivation, food processing, food packaging, food security, and water purification are examples of the important sectors linked with nanotechnology in the food production chain. However, safety concerns about such nanotechnology and the use of nanomaterials are increasing. Many determinants for the unusual activities and toxicities of the nanomaterials involving particle size, chemical composition, surface structure, and dosage are considered as well as three main exposure routes, including inhalation, ingestion, and dermal exposure. In addition, the trends and progress for toxicity and risk evaluation of the nanomaterials used in the food industry are also reviewed, which are helpful to understand and establish a regulatory system for the further development and use of NPs in the food industry.