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Nanocellulose Effects on Human Food Digestion and Health

A team of scientists is conducting studies that will shed light on ways nanotechnology can impact human health. The team is led by University of Georgia (UGA) food engineer Fanbin Kong, who is studying the safety of nanocellulose and how it affects humans’ food digestion and nutrient absorption. Nanocellulose is a light, solid substance obtained from plant matter, generally wood pulp. It has unique physical chemical properties and can be used in the food industry as a stabilizing agent, a functional food ingredient, and in food packaging production. Scientists know the benefits of nanocellulose, but they don’t know how it behaves in the digestive system once it’s ingested. Kong developed models of the human stomach and intestine that realistically demonstrate the way food breaks down in the human body. These models help test the effectiveness of functional foods and develop new foods aimed at helping those with specific health issues. This project will fill the knowledge gap about the behavior of nanocellulose during digestion and reveal any toxic effects.

NIFA supports this project through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Plant health, production, and products;
Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment;
Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
U.S. States and Territories
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