Nanoparticles in food: what happens during digestion?

Nanoparticles in food: what happens during digestion?

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Nanoparticles in food: is this bad for our health

Food can contain nanoparticles which, as additives, improve product properties. There may be particles of silicon dioxide in instant soups so that the soup does not clump. Tiny titanium dioxide particles make chewing gum and yogurt dressing shine in a brilliant white.

Food additives are checked for their harmlessness before approval. Manufacturers are obliged to label all ingredients in the form of "technically manufactured nanomaterials" on the label with "Nano". “Nano” denotes the billionth part of a meter (= 1 nanometer). However, according to the Federal Association of Consumer Centers e. V. (vzbv) so far practically no conventional ingredients that fall under this definition. Natural, random or procedural nanomaterials are not subject to labeling. This includes, for example, particles that are created when grinding flour, brewing beer or homogenizing fruit juices.

But how do nanoparticles in food affect our gastrointestinal flora? Scientists from the Center for Medical Biotechnology at the University of Duisburg-Essen have dealt with this question. To do this, they simulated the passage of the tiny particles through the body in the laboratory. Nanoparticles encounter very different conditions on their way through the digestive tract - from saliva to the acidic environment in the stomach and the more "neutral" intestine.

Apparently, a large number of the nanoparticles can bind to harmful and useful bacteria, including probiotic germs. This applies to artificial and natural nanoparticles that scientists have isolated from beer. The effects were positive and negative, the microbiologists explain in the journal "Nature Publishing Journal - Science of Food". For example, the immune system is less able to recognize disease-causing bacteria when they are covered with nanoparticles. This favors inflammatory processes in the intestine. On the other hand, experts believe that silica nanoparticles weaken the infectivity of the Helicobacter pylori germ, which is instrumental in the development of gastric cancer. A lot of research is still needed in the field of nanotechnology. The current results should help to better understand the biological mechanisms in the digestive tract and to further develop the use of nanoparticles in food. Heike Kreutz, respectively

Author and source information

Video: food digestion 3d medical animationsample use onlyDandelion Team (August 2022).