About this Research Topic
There is a need to produce food in a more efficient, safe, and sustainable way. Nanotechnology offers the opportunity to provide innovative approaches to increase food shelf-life and freshness, to enhance its organoleptic and nutraceutical properties, and to reduce production waste. Despite these advantages, the knowledge about the human risk assessment of the oral uptake of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in food is still poor, although ENMs are widely used in food additives and supplements. Several studies focus on the fate and effects of food-borne nanoparticles (NPs), with the aim to make consistent regulatory guidelines, standardizing the in vitro and in vivo analytical techniques. In particular, the different physico-chemical properties such as size, charge, aggregation state, morphology and composition of ENMs are demonstrated to drive adverse effects in biological systems. In this context, it is imperative to understand their influence on the gastro-intestinal tract and the probability to generate toxicity.
Despite the recent increase in research about the potential toxic effects of ENMs used in food production, the results remain contradictory. This stems from the diverse techniques used for material characterization, and from the different types of ENMs which are considered for comparison’s sake. Moreover, many research works study the pristine nanomaterials and ignore the interactions between ENMs and environment/biological fluids that can promote the ENMs aggregation and dispersion, both influencing cell uptake with a consequent impact on the ENMs toxicity. For this reason, more realistic experimental conditions and a more rigorous comparison of the physico-chemical properties of nanomaterials would be extremely crucial to understand their toxicological behavior.
This Research topic is devoted to creating a rationale about the toxicological behavior of nanomaterials used in food production with a particular focus on the gastrointestinal toxicity at different levels (stomach, intestine, intestinal microbiota, and intestinal immune cells). The toxicity of different kinds of amorphous silica, anatase and rutile titania, and silver nanoparticles will be addressed. Moreover, an in-depth study of the ADME pathway (absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination or excretion) of oral pharmaceutical preparations based on biopolymers (chitosan, starch, β-Lactoglobulin, zein, extracellular polymeric materials) as sustainable and cost-effective nano-delivery systems will be performed.
Type of manuscripts welcome in the collection: Original Research articles and Reviews.
Keywords: Gastrointestinal Toxicity, Metal Oxide Nanoparticles, Metal Nanoparticles, Food Additives, Biocompatible Compounds, Nutraceutical
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