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Behavior of Nanobiomaterials in The Gastrointestinal Tract and Their Risk Assessment


Nanobiomaterials, such as cellulose nanofibers (CNF) and CNF-based antimicrobial agents, may enter the gastrointestinal (GI) tract as a food ingredient or through ingestion of food contaminated by packaging materials containing nanomaterials. However, little is known about the behavior and the potential side effects of nanobiomaterials as they travel through the GI tract, including their particle size, interaction with food components and enzymes, and their impact on gut microflora and toxicological effect.The goal of the proposed project is to understand the behavior of nanobiomaterials in the GI tract and their potential toxicological effects. Specific objectives include 1) Develop methodologies to characterize nanocellulose and their nanocomposites by using a combination of suitable detection and characterization techniques and strategies; 2) Determine the particle size of nanobiomaterials in the GI tract, their interaction with food components and enzymes, and the impact on
nutrient digestibility; and 3) Investigate the potential toxicity of nanocellulose and nanocomposites and their effects on natural gut microflora and human cells, and their trans-locational behavior in intestinal cell membranes.Both in vitro and in vivo methods will be used for the proposed study. Novel artificial stomach and intestinal systems will be used to investigate the transit and transformation of nanobiomaterials in the GI tract, and their impact on food digestibility. Animal studies using mice will be conducted to examine the toxicological effect and nutrient digestibility as affected by nanobiomaterials. The results from this study will lead to better understanding of nanobiomaterials for better utilization of those novel materials.

Kong, F.
University of Georgia
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