Xanthan gummi chitosan nanofibre. Foto: DTU Fødevareinstituttet

Nano-designed ingredients with improved properties

Thursday 05 Dec 19


Ioannis S. Chronakis
Professor MSO
National Food Institute
+45 91 37 00 96
The National Food Institute uses carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids to develop natural so-called nano-microstructured ingredients, which the food industry can use to produce functional, healthier, tastier, and safer foods

All foods – both natural and processed – contain nano- and microstructures.

By using carbohydrates, proteins, and lipid nano- and microstructures, the researchers at the National Food Institute can develop new natural ingredients with a better functionality.

"The ambition is that the research at the National Food Institute can help to meet the demand for ingredients with added value which have specific health-beneficial effects and are manufactured sustainably with less resources."
Professor Ioannis S. Chronakis

Due to the size and improved properties of the designed ingredients, the food industry can make products with the same pleasant taste, but with a lower sugar, fat, and salt content. This is due to the fact that the industry does not have to use the same quantities of the new ingredients.

Enhanced delivery of bioactive substances

In addition, nano- and microstructured ingredients have a larger surface area per unit compared to similar ingredients with a larger structure. This makes these ingredients more biologically active, thus making it easier for the body to absorb them. The researchers at the Institute utilize this property to develop optimized delivery systems of bioactive substances – such as antioxidants, vitamins, and polyphenols – to the body so that the substances end up where they are most needed.

Read more 

Read more about the National Food Institute’s research into natural ingredients in an article from the National Food Institute’s 60th anniversary publication: Nano-designed ingredients with improved properties.

The National Food Institute is celebrating its 60th birthday this year, as it was decided on June 5, 1959 to establish a national food institute in Denmark. 

You can also read the articles: At the forefront of healthy, safe and sustainable foods, Seaweed and micro algae on the menu and The hunt for nature’s own additives.

The National Food Institute develops new and better food products for a growing population

According to forecasts from the UN, the world population will grow by more than two billion people over the next decades so that the total world population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050. At the same time, the middle class is growing, and more people are moving from the countryside to the cities. 

As such, there will be more mouths to feed, and the demand for healthy and convenient foods is also increasing.

The UN estimates that in 2050 we must produce 70% more food than we do today to feed the world population. However, the current way of producing food will most likely not be able to meet this demand. 

There is a need for research and innovation to find new sources of healthy, safe, and better foods and food components. 

The National Food Institute’s vision is to make a difference by developing new and better food products for the growing population. The institute finds new raw materials and ingredients, assesses their nutritional content and the safety in using them – and develops technologies with which to produce them. 

Foods must be healthy, safe and preferably also tasty.

Image: National Food Institute

16 MAY 2021