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November 30th, 2009
One of the oldest and most popular ways to incorporate nanotech into nutrition is via micelles, the tiniest of capsules that form naturally when nature requires a fat-soluble substance to be soluble in water. The micelle is basically a cavity that is water-soluble outside, but fat-attracting inside. Micelles help emulsify or dissolve fat in water solutions (such as fat globules in milk) and absorption in the intestines of fat-soluble nutrients such as vitmains D, E and K, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), carotenoids and essential fatty acids (EFAs). Based on this natural nanotechnology, many nutrition manufacturers are developing and incorporating novel micelle nanotechnologies in their products.
Bruce Lipshutz, a professor of chemistry at UC Santa Barbara, and his research team have been investigating improved CoQ10 bioavailability via nano-micelle-forming technology. They form a 25 nm diameter micelle that has fat-soluble vitamin E as its lipophilic (fat-loving) center. When CoQ10 is introduced, it goes straight to this center, resulting in a clear, nano delivery of CoQ10 that is stable at room temperature. Lipshutz noted this micelle delivers twice the amount of CoQ10 into the bloodstream and can work also for nutrients like omega-3s, carotenoids (lutein and beta-carotene) and resveratrol.
Yoav Livney and his team from Israel institute of Technology, Haifa, have come up with similar results using casein micelles as nanoencapsulates for delivery of hydrophobic nutrients to enrich non-fat or low-fat food products. "Such nano-capsules may be incorporated in dairy products without modifying their sensory properties," they concluded, adding casein micelles may be useful as nano-vehicles for entrapment, protection and delivery of sensitive hydrophobic nutraceuticals within other food products.
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