23rd April 2012, 10:09am
Experts to digest latest research in nanotech and food safety
microscope An expert from the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing will today present leading research on the use of nanotechnology in food quality and safety control.

Mark Swainson, Principal Lecturer in Food Manufacturing, will discuss the significant food sector potential of antimicrobial nanotechnology at an international conference. He will present Non-migration nano-antimicrobial polyolefins with value added-properties at the 2nd International Symposium on Packaging Material / Bioproduct Interactions (MATBIM 2012) being held at Institut Universitaire de Technologie de Dijon-Auxerre, Université de Bourgogne, France.

The conference involves academic and industrial scientists drawn from all over the world.  Presentations will highlight the leading research and developments in mass transfer mechanisms and interactions between packaging materials (particularly new materials, bio-packaging, active, smart and intelligent), and food / bioproducts and also consider the potential effects of such developments on consumer and environmental safety.

Mr Swainson is seeking to develop nanotech that will confer antimicrobial behaviour to food packaging and other industrial food contact surfaces.  It is intended that such materials will have the potential to kill or inhibit the growth of micro-organisms which could otherwise adversely affect product safety or shelf life.

He said: "The application of antimicrobial nanotechnology should prove invaluable to the food industry, serving to further support the quality, shelf life and safety of products available in food service outlets and supermarkets.  

“Food manufacturers and government agencies are constantly looking for ways to optimise food supply chains and reduce microbiological risks, and this technology could certainly prove very significant in helping to address such challenges."

Mr Swainson is working closely with Dr Fengge Gao, Reader in Nanotechnology at Nottingham Trent University's School of Science and Technology in a research partnership which seeks to identify and develop a wide range of food sector applications for nanotechnology.

The initiative was sparked by calls from the UK Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and food and drink research group CCFRA for research to develop better hygiene technology for detachment of micro-organisms on the surface of food processing facilities and preventing attachment of food on the surface of equipment.
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