Evaluating the Safety Cellulose Nanomaterials for Food-Related Uses Using an Alternative Testing Strategy

J. Ede, C. Sayes, J.A. Shatkin
Vireo Advisors,

Keywords: cellulose nanomaterials, food safety, food additive


Nano- and novel bio-materials such as cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) and cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) are currently being developed for a variety of food-related uses, offering unique technical effects to improve the nutrition, taste, texture, appearance, and quality of food. Before market entry, it is essential to demonstrate their safety for these uses; however, this can be challenging for novel materials and often requires expensive and time-consuming animal testing. Emerging strategies for the safety assessment of nano- and novel bio-materials in food include non-animal, or alternative test methods. This poster outlines an alternative testing strategy designed to demonstrate the safety of cellulose nanomaterials for food-related uses that addresses regulatory requirements and is resource-efficient for testing the next generation of nanomaterials for commercialization. It is a three-stage methodology that includes: (1) physical and chemical characterization of cellulose nanomaterials as-produced in the manufacturing process; (2) comparison of the physical and chemical characteristics of the as-produced materials against materials undergone simulated digestion; and (3) cytotoxicity assessment of the as-produced and digested cellulose nanomaterials in a gastrointestinal in vitro cell model system. Our developed strategy outlines a non-animal testing approach for assessing the transformation, fate, and effects of cellulose nanomaterials across the gastrointestinal tract while simultaneously addressing regulatory requirements in European markets and beyond. The alternative testing strategy advances safety demonstration of the many new and novel forms of bio-materials being developed for food-related applications that is both resource- and time-efficient.