Today, we are going to discuss about nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is one of the most exciting and fast-paced areas of science today. What are their possible applications? Is it safe?
When we say something is nano, we mean it is very small.
The size of one nano-meter is one billionth of a meter which is about , times smaller than the width of a human hair. Making new things at this amazingly small scale is called nanotechnology.
Some nano-materials are naturally occurring, you can find them everywhere, in volcanic ash, ocean spray, fine sand and dust. Naturally occurring nano-structures are also present in plants and animals.
The nanostructures in the insect’s eyes ensure anti-reflection and water repellent effects so that they can fly safely.
Nowadays, scientists can create nanostructure themselves, by rearranging the atoms of an object, they can make new nanomaterial with new properties.
Nano are stronger, lighter or different in colour. Properties also vary according to their size and this is the magic of technology.
In the food sector, researchers are working on nanotechnology to create novel products that could be beneficial to health and diets.
Nanosilver has antibacterial properties that can be used in food contact material such as cutting boards.
In food supplements, nano sized carriers increase absorption of nutrients. Nano sensors can be incorporated into packaging to monitor the quality and shelf life of food from manufacturers to consumers. It can also make food ingredients tastier or healthier. Carving up a grain of salt into small nano sized grains increases it’s surface area significantly. This means that your food needs far less salt to be equally tasty. This is good news for those who like crackers but are worried about their blood pressure. We need to make sure that food nanotechnologies do not cause harm to consumers.
There are specific properties that need to be taken into account when assessing impact on human health and the environment.
Over the coming years, nanotechnology will touch the lives of all of us.
Like many scientific advances, it brings uncertainty and potential risks. It is up to scientists, business and governments to make it work.