Nanotechnology, Future Tool To Improve Food Quality, Safety & Preservation In Meat Industry

Describe the title of the article

Nanotechnology today becomes an attractive technology and is achieving great attention in almost all parts of food manufacturing. Richard Feynman introduced the concept of nanotechnology in 1959. Nanoparticles can occur naturally (e.g., micelles, lipoproteins) and can be manufactured in a laboratory (e.g., titanium dioxide, zinc oxide). Nanotechnology involves the use of nano-range molecules (<100nm) and predominantly consist of characterization and fabrication. Nanotechnology is the study of atoms that are very minute usually from 1 to 100 nanometer and 1 nanometer is equal to one billionth part of a meter (Momin and Joshi, 2015). Nanotechnology has been used to produce dietary supplements and functional food ingredients (vitamins A and E, soybean isoflavones, lipoic acid, β-carotene, lutein, omega-3 fatty acids and coenzyme Q10), food additives (citric acid, ascorbic acid and benzoic acid) (Mohammadi et al., 2015). Nanotechnology provides food with natural quality, extended shelf life, assured safety, better sensory acceptance, reduced operating costs, food storage, avoid adulteration, tracking, tracing, brand protection and scalability for industrial needs.

Factors Affecting Meat Quality

Meat is putrefied mostly in three different ways: (a) autolytic enzymes, (b) microorganisms, and (c) lipid content (Ramachandraiah, Choi, & Hong, 2018). The deterioration of meat products is detected by putting a coating (1–10 nm thick) of transition metal (silver or copper) over paper packaging or plastic film structures. While reacting with sulfide volatiles that is fabricated from fresh meats, the coating becomes dark indicating that the process of spoilage occurs in meat (Smolander et al., 2004) Lipid oxidation is a chemical process that primarily involves the production of off-flavours and odours, results in deterioration of the texture, colour and nutritional value of meat products and also decreases its acceptability (Falowo, Fayemi, & Muchenje, 2014). There are two approaches through which healthier meat products can be developed: enhancing the levels of required components and reducing the unwanted constituents (Hygreeva et al., 2014). Nanotechnology helps us to better improve our health and wealth status, quality and products of life. Nanotechnology increased and enhance the consistency, taste and texture of various food ingredients (Cientifica Report, 2006). Nanotechnology may improve the storage life of food products and reduce their wastage due to microbial spoilage (Pradhan et al., 2015)


Cu nanoparticles prevent the growth after 4h exposure of different microbial species such as E. coli, S. aureus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and L. monocytogenes (Cioffi et al., 2005). Copper nanoparticles also result into a number of toxic effects including the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), DNA degradation, protein and lipid oxidation which may play a role for antimicrobial activity (Chatterjee et al., 2014). When merging with plastic matrix, zinc nanoparticles act as an antifungal and antimicrobial agent (Vermeiren et al., 2002). Nano-silver act as an antimicrobial material. Nearly 150 kinds of microbes can’t resist to Nano-silver (Sondi and Salopek-Sondi, 2004).


Nanosupplementation and Nanoencapsulation

Reformulation of meat products through reducing and altering the amount of fat, lessening the concentration of Na, PO₄³⁻ and NO3- and addition of probiotics, prebiotics and supplementary constituents, such as walnut and seaweed. Formation of compounds that may improve health, bioavailability, and lessening of ingredients not good for health and for the dealing and preservation of meat products (Olmedilla-Alonsoa et al., 2013). Nanocarriers are being used in the transport structures and apply additives in materials containing food despite upsetting the structure of the food. Ginger is reduced to nano-sized powders may enhance its absorptivity when used in meat products as a tenderizer and extender and become more resolvable and diffusible than natural ginger (Zhao et al., 2009).  It was observed that small size nanoparticles can be absorbed more effectively than larger micro size particles and may directly affect the distribution of bioactive compounds within the cell lining of body cells (Ezhilarasi, Karthik, Chhanwal, & Anandharamakrishnan, 2013).

Enrollment of Nanotechnology In Food Packaging

There are three possible ways to integrate nanotechnology in food components either by incorporation in the packaging of food material, use in the processing of food and direct absorption into food products (Kim et al., 2014). Due to the complex physical structure and chemical composition of meat, it is more susceptible to oxidation (Banerjee, Verma, Siddiqui, Naveena, & Kulkarni, 2017). The actual information is provided by the freshness indicators that tell us about the quality of food product during display, transportation and storage (Biji et al., 2015). Nanostructured oxygen scavengers present in various polymers may act as an active packaging material for different food products such as sliced meat, poultry, ready-to-eat snacks, fish, beverages and cooked pasta (Neethirajan and Jayas, 2011). The packaging system of nanoparticles may also add preservatives to the food, improved mechanical strength and barrier properties, and tells us about the variations that come due to ecological conditions and aware the consumer, if the food is unfit for human consumption.

Food Packaging
Food Packaging

Enrollment of Nanotechnology In Meat Preservation

A major goal for the preservation of meat is to avoid the microbial growth and retard the chemical and biochemical reactions that lead to unwanted fluctuations in meat and damage it’s quality & safeguards the nutritional and sensory attributes and food are not affected. Application of nanotechnology could be used for the identification of bacteria and other microbes that are present during packaging and may also improve the barrier strength for safe packaging in food industries (Sekhon, 2010). The aim of polymer nanotechnology in food packaging is to develop the main features of traditional packaging systems including preservation and protection (avoids break-up or leakage and also protects against microbial contamination, improving shelf life), containment (ease of handling and transportation), convenience (suitability or being consumer-friendly), advertising and communication (present evidence about the quality of sealed food materials, in addition to the nutritional components and preliminary procedures (Vanderroost et al., 2014).

Meat Preservation
Meat Preservation

Nanotechnology Enrollment In Meat Technology

Due to the excellent physiochemical nature, they are commonly used against various pathogenic microorganisms and in healthcare, crop protection, water treatment, food safety, and food preservation. Meat and fish spoilage can be detected by photo-activated ink based on nano-sized titanium dioxide (TiO2) by identifying the effect on meat colour and gaseous amines changes while changes occurring in oxygen. Nano-structuring can be used for the manufacture of very little sodium products because it’s related to high blood pressure and therefore more chances of heart diseases and lowers the level of salt in a meat product (Boskovic et al., 2013). Nanotechnology helps in providing confirmation and validation, inhibiting imitate fraudulently by tracing or tracking features of various food products, avoiding adulteration and alteration of products meant for a specific market. Nanoscale dirt-repellent coating is manufactured by CTC Nanotechnology for the purpose of a self creating surfaces in meat processing plants and in food packages for selling (CTC Nanotechnology, 2009). Nanosensors devices can identify and enumerate the most common fitness threats present in meat; infectious agents, poisons and traces of chemicals (Duncan, 2011). Nanosensors with better detection methods may improve the efficiency of product analysis both in relation to limit and time observation and that’s why foodborne pathogens could no more be a danger to our meat industry in future. Biosensors also have much value in the food investigation (Rai et al. 2012). Nanotechnology helps in the delivery of antimicrobials and antioxidants in processed meats through nanomaterial (Ozimek et al., 2010).

Effect of Nanoparticles On Human Health

Nanoparticles toxicity depends not only on their particle properties, the route from where particles enter the body, amount and extent or length of exposure but also on the state of the organism and individual exposure (Rim, Song, & Kim, 2013). ZnO in bulk form is non-toxic but have particles diameter has a genotoxic effect on epidermal cells of the human body (Baltic et al., 2013). Nanoparticles disturb the function or lining of the blood vessel and stimulate the formation of a blood clot while entering in the bloodstream or it may also associate with heart diseases when very small components may enter in our body during inhalation (Pekkanen et al., 2002). The small size of ENMs may increase the risk for bioaccumulation within body organs and tissues. Due to applications of nanoparticles in food, it may trigger the oxidation, irritation, genotoxic, toxicity of cells (Cockburn et al., 2012).

Human Health
Human Health

Migration of Nanoparticles In Food Packaging

Nanoparticles are nowadays a promising tool in the meat industry, therefore it has a great impact on environmental conditions and its exposure may also affect the human’s life. It’s very important to know about the migration of nanoparticles while being used in food packaging materials and their potential health effects. Detection of nanoparticles enclosed in foodstuffs is a serious issue and the determination of risks associated with them and their use is a great challenge for food scientists and technologists (De Azeredo, 2013). Potential migration of ENMs into foods while using in food packaging materials. Nano emulsion’s with high surface to volume ratio (greater reactivity) may increase absorption rates and the risk of overdosing and toxicity.

Safety Considerations

Products of poultry meat that are contaminated by intestinal contents and campylobacter infections can be traced during handling. Chicken feed has been enriched with antibiotic-functioning bioactive nano carbohydrate atoms stick together with the surface of bacteria containing biomolecular structures to eliminate via the bird’s waste because Campylobacter jejuni bacteria causes stomach pains and diarrhea in humans (Stutzenberger et al., 2007). Factors responsible for the stimulation of oxidation response results into chronic irritation that leads to different health effects including genotoxic stress, secondary mutation leads to cancer, fibers and fibrosis are one of the possible adverse effects of nanoparticles. Increased amount (10 mg/m3) of TiO2 nanoparticle may cause lung tumors followed by chronic inhalation (Aschberger et al., 2011).

Safety Consideration


Nanotechnology has given us biosensors and analytical tools, brand protection, track and trace applications to improve food quality, safety & preservation. Consumer perception and social acceptance are great challenges in the triumph of nanotechnology. Consumer acceptance and satisfaction plays a pivot role in the employment of nanotechnology. Nanofoods should be checked on regular basis for customer health safety previously they are ready for sale. Great research is required on existing uncertainties for risk assessment of nanomaterials due to limited information on several aspects including toxicity, behavior and bioaccumulation. Almost 150 types of microorganisms are unable to survive with nano metals. Due to high surface to volume ratio, nano particles are fit for fortification. However, it’s very crucial to know about the migration of nanoparticles while these are in contact with food packaging materials and their possible health effects. Nano particles may be found as an outstanding platform for transportation and conquering its position in all parts of food preservation, safety, quality whereas revealing poisonous chemicals, heavy metals, insecticide and drug deposits. Overall, nano technology becomes an attractive technology and attaining a great importance in almost all parts of food engineering.


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Written By Mishal Mumraiz (Food Technologist)



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