Nanostructured emulsions and nanolaminates for delivery of active ingredients: improving food safety and functionality
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Background: Nowadays, consumers are increasingly demanding high-quality, safe and healthy food products. Nanostructured emulsions and nanolaminates may have the potential to protect and transport lipophilic and hydrophilic active compounds commonly incorporated to food products, such as natural antimicrobials and nutraceuticals, while protecting or even enhancing their functional properties. Scope and approach: This review deals with the most important aspects concerning to the use of nanostructured emulsions and nanolaminates as delivery systems of active ingredients, including the advantages and challenges of incorporating plant-derived antimicrobials and nutraceuticals in foods, relevant factors affecting the formation of these nanostructures, fabrication methods, their advantages as delivery systems, and the current trends in food applications. In addition, concerns regarding the potential toxicity of nanomaterials are also discussed. Key findings and conclusions: The successful production of nanostructured emulsions and nanolaminates depends on several physicochemical factors that should be controlled in order to reach stable systems. Research evidences that nanostructured emulsions and nanolaminates are able to improve the delivery and biological activity of encapsulated active compounds. Antimicrobial and bioactive nanostructured emulsions and nanolaminates exhibit some promising advantages in food preservation and may represent a new strategy to produce functional foods. However, the knowledge in this area is still limited. The potential toxicological effects of nanostructured delivery systems are a current concern. Therefore, future investigations should be directed towards more comprehensive studies to shed light on the formation, physicochemical stability, functional performance, interactions with food matrices and toxicity of nanostructured delivery systems before their commercialization.