Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Nanoforum Report: Nanotechnology in Agriculture and Food

Funded under: FP6-NMP


The current global population is nearly 6 billion with 50% living in Asia. A large proportion of those living in developing countries face daily food shortages as a result of environmental impacts or political instability, while in the developed world there is a food surplus. For developing countries the drive is to develop drought and pest resistant crops, which also maximize yield. In developed countries, the food industry is driven by consumer demand which is currently for fresher and healthier foodstuffs. This is big business, for example the food industry in the UK is booming with an annual growth rate of 5.2% and the demand for fresh food has increased by 10% in the last few years.
The potential of nanotechnology to revolutionise the health care, textile, materials, information and communication technology, and energy sectors has been well-publicised. In fact several products enabled by nanotechnology are already in the market, such as antibacterial dressings, transparent sunscreen lotions, stain-resistant fabrics, scratch free paints for cars, and self cleaning windows. The application of nanotechnology to the agricultural and food industries was first addressed by a United States Department of Agriculture roadmap published in September 2003. The prediction is that nanotechnology will transform the entire food industry, changing the way food is produced, processed, packaged, transported, and consumed. This short report will review the key aspects of these transformations, highlighting current research in the agrifood industry and what future impacts these may have.

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