Nano Alert is focused on nanotechnology applications in food, agriculture, food packaging, skin care, medical applications with potential links to those focus topics, and related toxicology and risk assessment.

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"There’s plenty of room at the bottom” – 1959 lecture by Richard P. Feynman, Nobel Laureate in Physics

One-billionth of a meter. A nanometer. That’s really small. But more than 60 years ago Professor Feynman encouraged us to look at this “small” space, where there were plenty of opportunities. It has been found that nanomaterials, usually described as 1-100 nanometers (nm) in size, can have interesting and potentially useful properties.

Many of the potential nanotechnology applications are in electronics, optics, and medical uses and are being commercialized. But considerable research has been done on the uses of nanomaterial in food applications (to stabilize emulsions, precision delivery of nutrients, antimicrobial properties), agricultural applications (precision delivery of fertilizers or pesticides) and food packaging (sensors, improved barrier protection to prevent food degradation) and others.

Since the production of nanomaterials is new, questions have been raised whether there are potential impacts on human health that would not be identified by present food safety and additives standards. The report from an expert panel organized by the FAO and WHO in 2009 gives a good overview of those issues. Since then, considerable scientific effort is underway to address those issues.

ILSI has collaborated on some of those efforts, including cooperation with the US FDA, Health Canada and other partners. As a result of this progress, ILSI has undertaken to publish a newsletter, Nano Alert, to keep interested parties up-to-date on developments in this fast-developing field. Although this scientific topic is new, it is common in chemistry to deal with angstrom-sized materials (0.1 nm), and those risks have been successfully managed. ILSI is pleased to contribute to scientific progress on these issues.

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Subscribe to Nano Alert to receive monthly updates of timely nanotechnology information, covering its applications in food, agriculture, food packaging, skin care, medical applications with potential links to those key topics, and related toxicology and risk assessment, regulatory news and relevant conferences and events.

Nano Alert is published by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), South East Asia Region, in collaboration with LANOTEC, Laboratorio Nacional de Nanotecnología (National Nanotechnology Laboratory), of the Centro Nacional de Alta Tecnología, CeNAT (National Center for High Technology) San José, Costa Rica, a leading nanotech center in Latin America. 

ILSI is a global, non-profit scientific organization that addresses scientific issues of public health significance, chiefly related to food safety, nutrition and sustainability.

Editor: Geoffry Smith. Event notices, corrections, comments can be sent to editor.nanoalert@ilsisea.org.sg