Joined: 16 Mar 2004
|Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:48 am Post subject: Denmark food research to focus on emerging technologies
|Denmark food research to focus on emerging technologies
by Ahmid ElAmin
A merger between the National Food Institute and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) will help focus risk research on emerging issues such as nanotechnology.
The tie up of research power is a sign that regulators are attempting to stay ahead of emerging issues in food safety.
Nanotechnology is attractive to the food industry as it promises to yield new solutions to key challenges. However the technology could be held back as public concern focuses on issues on food safety as more and more companies begin to use it for packaging or producing new products.
In Denmark the newly-created Food-DTU centre is expected to be in operation this spring and is intended to further strengthen and further develop research into risks posed by pathogens and new technologies used by industry, the Børsen Business Daily reported.
The Veterinary Institute will also participate in the merger, along with the Danish Institute for Fisheries Research and food researchers at the Risø National Laboratories.
DTU institutes for Chemical Technique, Production and Management, Informatics and Mathematical Modelling, Micro and Nanotechnology as well as Biocentrum will also be included in Food-DTU.
One project listed on the National Food Insitute (NFI) site concerns assessing the potential health risks posed by nanotechnology.
"The hypothesis is that the mere nanometer size of matter, and its associated large surface area, may lead to adverse effects in living organisms including humans," the NFI stated. "Therefore health risk assessment of nanomaterials is of importance. The specific scope of this project is to develop and apply methodologies for nanoparticle recovery, detection of their chemical composition and determination of their size and surface area."
The methods will be applied to particles in suspension or dosed to biological materials such as cell-lines or living animals, according the research brief. The project will also test methods to extract or liberate nanosized matter from food contact materials or from cells.
The National Food Institute focuses on public health in relation to human nutrition, food safety, environment and health. Its activities include researching the health risks posed by food products throughout the entire food chain, from primary agricultural production and industrial processing.
Nanotechnology deals with controlling the properties of matter with lengths of between 1 and 100 nanometres. One nano-metre is equal to one billionth of a metre, and is about the size of a small molecule.
Worldwide sales of nanotechnology products to the food and beverage packaging sector jumped to US$860m (€687.5m) in 2004 from US$150m (€120m) in 2002, according to a study by consultant Helmut Kaiser.
The German firm predicts that nanotechnology will change 25 per cent of the food packaging business in the next decade leading to a yearly market of about $30bn (€24bn).
Story first posted: 23rd February 2007.