Food-grade nanoemulsions: formulation, fabrication, properties, performance, biological fate, and potential toxicity

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
David Julian McClements, Jiajia Rao

Abstract

Nanoemulsions fabricated from food-grade ingredients are being increasingly utilized in the food industry to encapsulate, protect, and deliver lipophilic functional components, such as biologically-active lipids (e.g., ω-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid) and oil-soluble flavors, vitamins, preservatives, and nutraceuticals. The small size of the particles in nanoemulsions (r<100 nm) means that they have a number of potential advantages over conventional emulsions-higher stability to droplet aggregation and gravitational separation, high optical clarity, ability to modulate product texture, and, increased bioavailability of lipophilic components. On the other hand, there may also be some risks associated with the oral ingestion of nanoemulsions, such as their ability to change the biological fate of bioactive components within the gastrointestinal tract and the potential toxicity of some of the components used in their fabrication. This review article provides an overview of the current status of nanoemulsion formulation, fabrication, properties, applications, biological fate, and potential toxicity with emphasis on systems suitable for utilization within the food and beverage industry.

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