An overview on the applications of nanotechnology for improving the safety of food products

Document Type : Review article


1 Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran Medical Sciences , Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Public Health and Food Supervision, Supervision of surplus conversion industries of agricultural and livestock products, Veterinary Organization, Tehran, Iran

3 Food and Drug Laboratory Research Center (FDLRC), Food and Drug Administration (IR-FDA), Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MOH+ME), Enghelab St., Fakhr-e Razi St., Tehran, Iran

4 Zoonotic Diseases Research Center, Department of Food Hygiene and Safety, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran


The rapid spread of nanotechnology has led to the application of this technology in different sectors of the food industry such as processing, packaging, storage, transport, and safety. One of the most important areas in which nanotechnology can help is the safety of food products. Today, food quality and safety control is done with a preventive approach from the farm to the consumer table. The ideal scenario is defined based on minimizing the risk of food contamination without compromising organoleptic properties and food quality. Nanotechnology using various nanostructures can be employed to achieve this ideal scenario. A very wide range of nanostructures such as metal oxides, inorganic metals, and nanocomposites containing biologically active compounds have been used in food products. Nanostructures can help improve the food safety in a variety of ways, such as identifying pathogens, producing active, smart, and antimicrobial edible films, protecting against allergens and biofilms, and other applications. However, there are concerns about the potential dangers of using engineered nanomaterials for human, animal, and environmental health, so careful assessments are needed before the arrival of any of these nanotechnology-based products to gain the satisfaction and trust of the target community. This study suggested that the nanotechnology can be considered as an efficient strategy to improve the safety of food products.


Main Subjects

Amin, M. T., Alazba, A. A., & Manzoor, U. (2014). A review of removal of pollutants from water/wastewater using different types of nanomaterials. Advances in Materials Science and Engineering, 2014.
Bhattacharya, S., Jang, J., Yang, L., Akin, D., & Bashir, R. (2007). BioMEMS and nanotechnology‐based approaches for rapid detection of biological entities. Journal of Rapid Methods & Automation in Microbiology, 15(1), 1-32.
Cai, Y., Li, C., Wu, D., Wang, W., Tan, F., Wang, X., ... & Qiao, X. (2017). Highly active MgO nanoparticles for simultaneous bacterial inactivation and heavy metal removal from aqueous solution. Chemical Engineering Journal, 312, 158-166.
Chen, C. S., & Durst, R. A. (2006). Simultaneous detection of Escherichia coli O157: H7, Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes with an array-based immunosorbent assay using universal protein G-liposomal nanovesicles. Talanta, 69(1), 232-238.
Dungchai, W., Siangproh, W., Chaicumpa, W., Tongtawe, P., & Chailapakul, O. (2008). Salmonella typhi determination using voltammetric amplification of nanoparticles: a highly sensitive strategy for metalloimmunoassay based on a copper-enhanced gold label. Talanta, 77(2), 727-732.
Espitia, P. J., Fuenmayor, C. A., & Otoni, C. G. (2019). Nanoemulsions: Synthesis, characterization, and application in bio‐based active food packaging. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 18(1), 264-285.
Fathi, M., Martin, A., & McClements, D. J. (2014). Nanoencapsulation of food ingredients using carbohydrate based delivery systems. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 39(1), 18-39.
Gambino, M., Ahmed, M. A. A. A., Villa, F., & Cappitelli, F. (2017). Zinc oxide nanoparticles hinder fungal biofilm development in an ancient Egyptian tomb. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 122, 92-99.
Griffith, C. J. (2006). Food safety: where from and where to?. British Food Journal, 108(1), 6-15.
Han, W., Yu, Y., Li, N., & Wang, L. (2011). Application and safety assessment for nano-composite materials in food packaging. Chinese Science Bulletin, 56(12), 1216-1225.
Inbaraj, B. S., & Chen, B. H. (2016). Nanomaterial-based sensors for detection of foodborne bacterial pathogens and toxins as well as pork adulteration in meat products. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, 24(1), 15-28.
Jain, K. K. (2003). Nanodiagnostics: application of nanotechnology in molecular diagnostics. Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics, 3(2), 153-161.
Jovanović, B. (2015). Critical review of public health regulations of titanium dioxide, a human food additive. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 11(1), 10-20.
Kahraman, M., Yazıcı, M. M., Şahin, F., & Çulha, M. (2008). Convective assembly of bacteria for surface-enhanced Raman scattering. Langmuir, 24(3), 894-901.
Li, Y., Tseng, Y. D., Kwon, S. Y., d'Espaux, L., Bunch, J. S., McEuen, P. L., & Luo, D. (2004). Controlled assembly of dendrimer-like DNA. Nature Materials, 3(1), 38-42.
Lin, S., Xu, M., Zhang, W., Hua, X., & Lin, K. (2017). Quantitative effects of amination degree on the magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MIONPs) using as adsorbents to remove aqueous heavy metal ions. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 335, 47-55.
Pali-Schöll, I., Szöllösi, H., Starkl, P., Scheicher, B., Stremnitzer, C., Hofmeister, A., ... & Jensen-Jarolim, E. (2013). Protamine nanoparticles with CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide prevent an allergen-induced Th2-response in BALB/c mice. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 85(3), 656-664.
Ranmadugala, D., Ebrahiminezhad, A., Manley-Harris, M., Ghasemi, Y., & Berenjian, A. (2017). The effect of iron oxide nanoparticles on Bacillus subtilis biofilm, growth and viability. Process Biochemistry, 62, 231-240.
Rhim, J. W., Park, H. M., & Ha, C. S. (2013). Bio-nanocomposites for food packaging applications. Progress in Polymer Science, 38(10-11), 1629-1652.
Schulman, S., & Bijsterveld, N. R. (2007). Anticoagulants and their reversal. Transfusion Medicine Reviews, 21(1), 37-48.
Sekhon, B. S. (2010). Food nanotechnology–an overview. Nanotechnology, science and applications, 3, 1.
Shakeri, S., Kermanshahi, R. K., Moghaddam, M. M., & Emtiazi, G. (2007). Assessment of biofilm cell removal and killing and biocide efficacy using the microtiter plate test. Biofouling, 23(2), 79-86.
Singh, T., Shukla, S., Kumar, P., Wahla, V., Bajpai, V. K., & Rather, I. A. (2017). Application of nanotechnology in food science: perception and overview. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8, 1501.
Su, X. L., & Li, Y. (2004). Quantum dot biolabeling coupled with immunomagnetic separation for detection of escherichia coli O157: H7. Analytical Chemistry, 76(16), 4806-4810.
Thuptimdang, P., Limpiyakorn, T., & Khan, E. (2017). Dependence of toxicity of silver nanoparticles on Pseudomonas putida biofilm structure. Chemosphere, 188, 199-207.
Tominaga, T. (2018). Rapid detection of Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella oxytoca, Raoultella ornithinolytica and other related bacteria in food by lateral-flow test strip immunoassays. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 147, 43-49.
Tully, E., Hearty, S., Leonard, P., & O’Kennedy, R. (2006). The development of rapid fluorescence-based immunoassays, using quantum dot-labelled antibodies for the detection of Listeria monocytogenes cell surface proteins. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 39(1-3), 127-134.
Vikesland, P. J., & Wigginton, K. R. (2010). Nanomaterial enabled biosensors for pathogen monitoring-a review. Environmental Science & Technology, 44(10), 3656-3669.
Vogelbruch, M., Nuss, B., Körner, M., Kapp, A., Kiehl, P., & Bohm, W. (2000). Aluminium‐induced granulomas after inaccurate intradermal hyposensitization injections of aluminium‐adsorbed depot preparations. Allergy, 55(9), 883-887.
Wesley, S. J., Raja, P., Raj, A. A., & Tiroutchelvamae, D. (2014). Review on-nanotechnology applications in food packaging and safety. International Journal of Engineering Research, 3(11), 645-651.
Yang, L., & Li, Y. (2006). Quantum dot bioconjugates for simultaneous detection of Escherichia coli O157: H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium. Analyst, 131(3), 394-401.
Yoshida, T., Yoshioka, Y., Fujimura, M., Yamashita, K., Higashisaka, K., Morishita, Y., ... & Kamada, H. (2011). Promotion of allergic immune responses by intranasally-administrated nanosilica particles in mice. Nanoscale Research Letters, 6(1), 1-6.
Zhao, X., Hilliard, L. R., Mechery, S. J., Wang, Y., Bagwe, R. P., Jin, S., & Tan, W. (2004). A rapid bioassay for single bacterial cell quantitation using bioconjugated nanoparticles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101(42), 15027-15032.
Zhou, L., Lv, S., He, G., He, Q., & Shi, B. I. (2011). Effect of PE/Ag2O nano‐packaging on the quality of apple slices. Journal of Food Quality, 34(3), 171-176.