Characterization of Nanoparticles in Commercial Food Additives

S. Afrin Khan and T.R. Croley
U.S. Food & Drug Administration,
United States

Keywords: Nanoparticles, food additives


Nanotechnology is an emerging field of science which has found use in some food and consumer products. Nanomaterials have the potential to offer many unique benefits in consumer products and could find uses in improving the taste, color, flavor, and texture in food. Some materials that are used in the bulk form as FDA-approved food additives have particle size distributions that extend into the nanoscale (i.e., less than 100 nm). Although the FDA does not consider these additives to be engineered nanomaterials, there is an interest in determining, using modern particle sizing methodology, the particle size profiles of some typical water-insoluble bulk powdered food additives. We present analytical techniques to characterize some metal oxide food additives, which were obtained directly from manufacturers and distributors. Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) assay, Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and Field Effect Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) were used to measure the particle size distributions of some commercially available food additives. These results will allow FDA to gain a greater understanding of the nano-sized particle occurrence in these metal oxide food additives.