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Danish food researchers list priorities for FP7 and underline relevance of nanoscience

 

The food science thematic priority in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) should address six specific areas, according to Denmark's Centre for Advanced Food Studies (LMC), an alliance between all Danish institutions working in food science.

The six areas prioritised by LMC are:
- basic understanding of food and feed for intelligent innovation;
- systems biology in food research;
- biological renewal in the food sector/biological production;
- technology development;
- nutrigenomics;
- consumer needs-driven innovation and food communication.

LMC believes that focusing on these fields would force an interdisciplinary and holistic approach. Possible risks, health, the environment and ethical issues should be incorporated into each of the priority areas, it adds.

Danish food researchers believe that they are well placed to participate in international projects following a foresight exercise on nanoscience in Denmark. The exercise not only led to recommendations on significant funding increases, but prioritised seven areas for research. LMC believes four of these to be relevant to food science: biocompatible materials; nanosensors and nanofluidics; plastic electronics; and nanomaterials with new functional properties. The three other areas shortlisted for national research funding are: nanomedicine and drug delivery; nanooptics and nanophotonics; and nanocatalysis and hydrogen technology.

LMC emphasises that 'nano-tecnological development within the area of food is still in its infancy and the development has so far been scattered'. However, knowledge of biotechnology means that there are great opportunities for major scientific breakthroughs, the centre believes.

For example, using nanotechnology, the interaction between living tissue and living organism and synthetic materials can be explored. This could lead to the development of surfaces that either attract or reject certain molecules or cells, for example bacteria. This would have great relevance for food production.

As emphasised by LMC, nanotechnology also has possible applications within the food industry in relation to ingredients. Further research could enable the production of food with specific properties deemed important for health, consistency, safety and appearance.

Other opportunities include: intelligent packaging materials, making it possible to monitor the condition of products during transportation or in display counters; and biobased packaging techniques.

LMC concludes by emphasising that the developments outlined above depend upon collaboration within the fields of physics, chemistry, materials science, biology, molecular biology and medicine.

For further information on LMC, please visit:
http://www.levnedsmiddelcentret.dk



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