Food Production DailyÂ has an article “The evolution of the nanotech revolution” looking at nanotech in food.
Before anyone screams “Frankenfood!!!” it is worth taking a look into some of the applications. There are of course, plenty of applications in processed food, but one has to wonder whether getting worked up about one more chemical going into a product consisting chiefly of hydrogenated vegetable fat and mechanically recovered meat is missing the point.
Most interesting is Erich Windhab‘s work. Windhab used microscale and nanotechnology techniques to fortify salt with Vitamin A, iodine and iron, which are all missing from the soil and hence the foods grown and eaten in rural Morocco. The teamÂ created multiple microcapsules to protect the three types of micronutrients. The capsules were then timed to open up in the gut to release the nutrients.
This triple-fortified salt had no colour change and no off flavours, apparently a major problem in previous trials at getting the community to accept salt fortified using other techniques.
The result, according to WindhabÂ “was a significant reduction of iodine deficiency and anemia.”
It is a good example of how nanotechnologies can be used to help the developing world, not through attempting to cure diseases or providing free solar energy, but simply by improving basic nutrition.Â As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.