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Lipids and Nano Size Segments Food Products

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The parole “nano” has been gotten from the Greek for “dwarf”. A nanometer is 10-9 of a substance and is around the scale of a virus, a red blood cell is approximately 2000-5000 nm in size. Hence, nanotechnology conserves substance that ranges up to 1/20 the size of a red blood cell. Nanoparticles are generally known as those with a particle size below 100 nanometers where unique phenomena enable new utilizations and benefits. Nanomaterials are normally powders constituted of nanoparticles which present properties that are different from powders of the same chemical composition, but with much larger particles. Researches are continued to develop their potential in food nanotechnology sector including food processing and packaging, foods and supplements due to their unique functions and applications of nano-materials.

Food products naturally include nano size segments. For example; globular proteins may vary between 10 and several hundred nanometers in diameter, milk naturally contains nanostructures, like casein micelles. Also, nanostructures may be created during routine food processing operations, such as homogenization. When milk is homogenized, fat globules are turned down to about 100 nm in size. The natural or random formation of such structures does not include nanotechnology; but their characterization does. The induced formation of nanostructures by providing the right environmental conditions involves nano-scale science. This review will present some of the most frequently used self-assemble peptide and proteins involved in food and bio products nano scale developments.

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Lipids, like surfactants, demonstrate complex phase behavior that is strongly dependent on composition and temperature. By dispersing in polar solvent, their dual hydrophilic-hydrophobic nature drives the spontaneous self-assembly into a variety of micellar structures and ordered liquid-crystalline (LC) phases. Hydrophobic force is known as driving force for the assembly, which involves attraction between hydrophobic segments (hydrophobic interaction) and water structure around nonpolar molecules (hydrophobic hydration). Different kinds of structures in self-assembled lipid include normal micelles, vesicles, reversed microemulsions and lyotropic liquid crystalline phases comprising inverted micellar cubic, inverted hexagonal and inverted bicontinuous cubic phases. Though the lipid self-assembled structures are not as complex or diverse in architecture as in the case of their protein and nucleotide counterparts, the self-assembled lipid structures have been employed in commercial cases by many industries.

There is increasing demonstration that these structures can provide new functionalities for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industry. Studies denoted that solubilization enhancement of lipophilic and crystalline materials, the control of membrane protein crystallization, an increased bioavailability or bioefficacy of drugs and nutrients and the controlled release of solubilized bioactive materials, can be achieve by self-assemblies. Some of the major self-assembled structures formed by lipids and their potential use in food industry.


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