Nanotechnologies on the Stage: Improving the Role of Nutrients for Well-Being and Special Nutrition Needs

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Biology and Medicines".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2023) | Viewed by 2759

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Charles Darwin", Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
2. Research Center for Nanotechnology for Engineering of Sapienza (CNIS), Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Interests: nanobiomedicine and nanotoxicology; micro and nanoplastics; cell death; exosomes and microvesicles
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Charles Darwin", Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
2. Research Center for Nanotechnology for Engineering of Sapienza (CNIS), Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Interests: nutrients; nutrition; neurogenesis; neurodegeneration; aging; nutraceuticals; rare diseases; brain homeostasis; microbione; gut–brain axis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The application of nanotechnologies in the field of nutrition has recently gained a considerable increase in interest thanks to the enhanced properties that they can provide to food and in general to daily nutrition with the addition of bioactive compounds in nanoformulations. The possibility of providing nutrients in the form of nanoformulations, and its relative advantages, has been applied to functional food components, such as vitamins, phytochemicals, minerals, and antioxidants, that are necessary for optimal human health and disease prevention. Nowadays, nanotechnologies for bioactive substances are not limited, for example, to increased transport capacities of poorly soluble nutraceutical compounds, but in a more forward-looking view, they are important for the incredible role that these conveyed nutrients can have on our well-being and in the needs deriving from specific nutritional requests. If, on the one hand, the research has highlighted that in healthy people a greater state of well-being can be reached by eating specific nutrients, on the other hand, it is known that a general malaise can induce issues related to malabsorption and leads to nutritional deficiency. Special nutrition needs cannot be accomplished by a normal diet, and diseases can prevent some people from achieving their nutritional requirements due to the lack of ability to consume, digest, absorb, metabolize, or excrete ordinary foods. Thus, there has been a recent increase in the demand for foods (or food ingredients) with health benefits beyond providing essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, natural products, probiotics, etc.), particularly if they are consumed regularly and at a high enough dose. The application of nanotechnology to this field has recently been considered with the aim to improve the featuring of bioactive compounds included in foods: For example, the use of nanocarriers can improve the bioavailability and reduce the concentration of active substances, thus decreasing dose-dependent toxicity and improving the taste of the final product, in addition to efforts made for developing food for special medical purposes. Indeed, the idea of food with health benefits is opposite to dietary supplements that are very similar to drugs in terms of how they are taken. These classes of food are strictly identified and regulated by the FDA and the EMSA beyond the specific legislation of each country and, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), are globally identified as fortified, enriched, or enhanced foods or foods for special medical purposes (FSMPs). There may be a limit to the inclusion of nutrients or bioactive compounds in food due to their intrinsic properties, for example, their disgusting taste or their inability to be absorbed well by the gastrointestinal tract.

The applications of nanotechnology can provide new insight into the fields of nutrition and food science. However, there is still a long way to go for claims and applications of nanofortificants or other bioactive components to balance the total nutrient profile of a diet, thereby correcting or preventing inadequate nutrient intake and deficiencies. 

The safety concerns of nanomaterials are a prerequisite to be resolved because there are huge gaps in understanding the toxicities of NPs, the interaction of nano-materials with food, and their fate after ingestion.

The purpose of the present Special Issue is to give a picture, as complete as possible, of the more recent research regarding nanoformulations of fortified foods for well-being and special medical purposes, including nanoformulations for supplements (both at the level of basic research, translational research, or applied research), as well as the most relevant guidelines, regulations, and directives in the field. In fact, only a small number of countries have formulated approval guidelines for the application of nanotechnology in the food industry and the issues associated with “nano-labeling” on such food supplements. Regarding the effective delivery of micronutrients, insufficient scientific evidence on the use of nanotechnologies has caused a certain grade of complexity in giving definitive conclusions, and it must be underscored that nanoparticles could have a pivotal role in the prospective expansion of curative and preventive applications for the targeted delivery of micronutrients. Therefore, a more in-depth investigation is currently requested.

Dr. Luciana Dini
Dr. Marco Fidaleo
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • nutraceutical
  • nutrients
  • nanocarrier
  • nanoformulation
  • functional food
  • fortified foods
  • enriched foods
  • foods for special medical purpose
  • food guidelines
  • food regulation

Published Papers (2 papers)

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12 pages, 3630 KiB  
Article
Incorporation of Solid Lipid Nanoparticles into Stirred Yogurt: Effects in Physicochemical and Rheological Properties during Shelf-Life
by Raquel F. S. Gonçalves, Rui Rodrigues, António A. Vicente and Ana C. Pinheiro
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13010093 - 25 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1605
Abstract
The aim of this work was to develop a yogurt fortified with curcumin. Curcumin is a lipophilic compound with a wide range of biological activities; however, it presents low water solubility and low bioavailability, and therefore it was the first to be encapsulated [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was to develop a yogurt fortified with curcumin. Curcumin is a lipophilic compound with a wide range of biological activities; however, it presents low water solubility and low bioavailability, and therefore it was the first to be encapsulated in solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs). Then the influence of the incorporation of curcumin-loaded SLNs on the physicochemical (i.e., pH, titratable acidity, syneresis and color) and rheological properties of yogurt during its shelf-life (30 days at 4 °C) was evaluated. SLN incorporation into yogurt did not affect pH and titratable acidity compared to the control (i.e., plain yogurt) during shelf-life, even though the yogurt with SLNs presented lower values of pH (4.25 and 4.34) and acidity (0.74% lactic acid and 0.84% lactic acid) than the control in the end, respectively. Furthermore, the yogurt with SLNs presented slightly higher values of syneresis than the control during the shelf-life; however, it did not present visual differences in whey separation. Relative to the color, the incorporation of SLNs into the yogurt imparted a strong yellow color to the sample but did not affect color stability during shelf-life. Both samples showed flow curves with yield stress and shear-thinning behavior during shelf-life, and, regarding the viscoelastic behavior, both showed a typical weak viscoelastic gel with an elastic structure. Overall, curcumin-loaded SLNs incorporation did not affect the physicochemical and rheological stability of yogurt during shelf-life, showing a promising application for the development of new functional foods. Full article
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19 pages, 1117 KiB  
Review
Engineered Nanomaterials for Improving the Nutritional Quality of Agricultural Products: A Review
by Yi Sun, Guikai Zhu, Weichen Zhao, Yaqi Jiang, Qibin Wang, Quanlong Wang, Yukui Rui, Peng Zhang and Li Gao
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(23), 4219; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12234219 - 27 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2091
Abstract
To ensure food safety, the current agricultural development has put forward requirements for improving nutritional quality and reducing the harmful accumulation of agricultural chemicals. Nano-enabled sustainable agriculture and food security have been increasingly explored as a new research frontier. Nano-fertilizers show the potential [...] Read more.
To ensure food safety, the current agricultural development has put forward requirements for improving nutritional quality and reducing the harmful accumulation of agricultural chemicals. Nano-enabled sustainable agriculture and food security have been increasingly explored as a new research frontier. Nano-fertilizers show the potential to be more efficient than traditional fertilizers, reducing the amount used while ensuring plant uptake, supplying the inorganic nutrients needed by plants, and improving the process by which plants produce organic nutrients. Other agricultural uses of nanotechnology affect crop productivity and nutrient quality in addition to nano-fertilizers. This article will review the research progress of using nanomaterials to improve nutritional quality in recent years and point out the focus of future research. Full article
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