A prolonged intake of nanoparticles polystyrene , a material very common in food additives and other products consumed regularly, may be more hazardous to health than previously thought, according to a study published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.


To study these effects, the scientists used both cultured human intestinal cells as live chickens, because in the latter the metabolism of iron , an essential mineral, is very similar to ours. The results indicated that the initial exposure to the particles blocking the absorption of iron while a prolonged intake caused changes in the cellular structures. The nanoparticles are fractions of materials with dimensions below 100 nanometers and are already used in products ranging from food to cosmetics. “We have some assurance that generally are not harmful to health but may have other more subtle effects that we study,” stated Michael L. Shuler, Cornell University New York and author of the paper.

The oxygen is not a good friend of food, hence many of the dairy products are vacuum packed. Over 20 percent of the atmosphere is oxygen which produces a degradation in the chemical structure of foods, which makes go bad. A group of scientists from Purdue University appears to have found a system to protect the food and thus keep their benefits. Modifying the phytoglycogen, a nanoparticle that composes about 30 percent of the dry mass of sweet corn, Yuan Yao, associate professor of Food Science at Purdue University, has made ​​food is not rancid. The modification of the nanoparticle combined with food oils has been found that acts as a barrier against degradation of the food .

A chemical level, Professor Yao managed to modify the surface of the nanoparticle making it denser and thinner than normal emulsifiers, creating a better defense against agents that cause lipid oxidation (oxygen free radicals and ions of metal .) The study was recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. This oxidation occurs in a shorter amount of time to food consumption. For example, the chemical degradation occurs in fish oils. The oxidation of lipids degraded acids Omega 3 , essential for child development and preventing attacks to heart in adults.