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The science behind those afternoon naps Harvard Gazette – Harvard Gazette

Posted: February 15, 2021 at 3:17 am

How often a person takes daytime naps, if at all, is partly regulated by their genes, according to new research led by investigators at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and published inNature Communications.

In this study, the largest of its kind ever conducted, the MGH team collaborated with colleagues at the University of Murcia in Spain and several other institutions to identify dozens of gene regions that govern the tendency to take naps during the day. They also uncovered preliminary evidence linking napping habits to cardiometabolic health.

Napping is somewhat controversial, says Hassan Saeed Dashti of the MGH Center for Genomic Medicine, co-lead author of the report with Iyas Daghlas, a medical student at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Dashti notes that some countries where daytime naps have long been part of the culture (such as Spain) now discourage the habit. Meanwhile, some companies in the United States now promote napping as a way to boost productivity. It was important to try to disentangle the biological pathways that contribute to why we nap, says Dashti.

Previously, co-senior author Richa Saxena, principal investigator at the Saxena Lab at MGH, and her colleagues used massive databases of genetic and lifestyle information to study other aspects of sleep. Notably, the team has identified genes associated with sleep duration, insomnia, and the tendency to be an early riser or night owl. To gain a better understanding of the genetics of napping, Saxenas team and co-senior author Marta Garaulet of the department of physiology at the University of Murcia, performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS), which involves rapid scanning of complete sets of DNA, or genomes, of a large number of people. The goal of a GWAS is to identify genetic variations that are associated with a specific disease or, in this case, habit.

For this study, the MGH researchers and their colleagues used data from the UK Biobank, which includes genetic information from 452,633 people. All participants were asked whether they nap during the day never/rarely, sometimes or usually. The GWAS identified 123 regions in the human genome that are associated with daytime napping. A subset of participants wore activity monitors called accelerometers, which provide data about daytime sedentary behavior, which can be an indicator of napping. This objective data indicated that the self-reports about napping were accurate. That gave an extra layer of confidence that what we found is real and not an artifact, says Dashti.

Several other features of the study bolster its results. For example, the researchers independently replicated their findings in an analysis of the genomes of 541,333 people collected by 23andMe, the consumer genetic-testing company. Also, a significant number of the genes near or at regions identified by the GWAS are already known to play a role in sleep. One example isKSR2, a gene that the MGH team and collaborators had previously found plays a role in sleep regulation.

Digging deeper into the data, the team identified at least three potential mechanisms that promote napping:

This tells us that daytime napping is biologically driven and not just an environmental or behavioral choice, says Dashti.

Some of these subtypes were linked to cardiometabolic health concerns, such as large waist circumference and elevated blood pressure, though more research on those associations is needed.

Future work may help to develop personalized recommendations for siesta, says Garaulet.

Furthermore, several gene variants linked to napping were already associated with signaling by a neuropeptide called orexin, which plays a role in wakefulness. This pathway is known to be involved in rare sleep disorders like narcolepsy, but our findings show that smaller perturbations in the pathway can explain why some people nap more than others, says Daghlas.

Saxena is the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport MGH Research Scholar at the Center for Genomic Medicine and an associate professor of anesthesia at HMS.

The work was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, MGH Research Scholar Fund, Spanish Government of Investigation, Development and Innovation, the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia through the Seneca Foundation, Academy of Finland, Instrumentarium Science Foundation, Yrj Jahnsson Foundation, and Medical Research Council.

The science behind those afternoon naps Harvard Gazette - Harvard Gazette

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RARE-X Announces the Expansion of its Board of Directors to Support the Organization’s Growth and Launch Efforts – WFMZ Allentown

Posted: February 15, 2021 at 3:17 am

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., Feb. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- RARE-X today announced three new board members who will help support the nonprofit's work in structured patient data collection, responsible data sharing, and the promise of its Federated Data Sharing Platform for data sharing and analysis. The new board members are Cynthia Grossman, PhD, director at Biogen; Jason Colquitt, CEO of Across Healthcare; and Simon Frost, CEO of Tiber Capital Group.

"The additions of Cynthia Grossman, PhD, Jason Colquitt, and Simon Frost to the board are very strategic. All bring a depth of knowledge in patient advocacy, health tech, scaling-up organizations, and operational excellence," said Nicole Boice, RARE-X Co-Founder/Executive Director. "We are honored to have them join an already extraordinary board and thrilled to channel their expertise, talent, and energy into helping RARE-X build towards the future."

Cynthia Grossman, PhD, is a director at Biogen, leading the MS PATHS program, a collaborative research network aimed at generating evidence to improve outcomes for patients living with Multiple Sclerosis. Prior to joining Biogen, Cynthia was director at FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute. Before joining FasterCures, she was chief of the HIV Care Engagement and Secondary Prevention Program in the Division of AIDS Research (DAR) at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Cynthia has spent her career working to improve health by expanding opportunities for patients' perspectives to shape the processes by which new therapies are discovered, developed, and delivered. Cynthia graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Earlham College with a B.A. in psychology and biology and earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont. She has been the recipient of a National Science Foundation Incentives for Excellence Scholarship, an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Services Award, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Psychology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Jason Colquitt is CEO of Across Healthcare, a company he founded in 2012, leveraging his 20+ years in the healthcare technology field. His work has caused positive disruption within the healthcare industry as he has partnered with many organizations ranging from small start-ups to some of the world's largest health companies including Greenway Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Quintiles, IQVIA, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, American College of Surgeons, and American Heart Association. Jason has worked directly with patients, caregivers, physicians, regulators, and researchers. Jason was diagnosed with Carnitine Palmitoyltransferase II Deficiency (CPT II), a rare mitochondrial disease. He has used his experiences and technical background to help the rare disease community. Jason holds a Bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics from Auburn University.

Simon Frost is the CEO of Tiber Capital Group. Before joining Tiber Capital Group, he was the chief investment officer of Greencourt Capital, a public company with approximately $1 billion in real estate assets. Before joining Greencourt Capital, Simon was president and COO of Key Properties. He was also the co-founder of The American Home, one of the largest single-family rental aggregators in the United States. Simon holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in economics from Cambridge University in England, and a Bachelor's degree in finance from the University of South Africa. Simon serves as director of both Cure AHC and Hope For Annabel, charities dedicated to finding therapies for Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood.

The current RARE-X Board of Directors includes: Betsy Bogard, head of program and alliance management within the 4:59 Initiative at 5AM Ventures; Nicole Boice, co-founder and executive director of RARE-X; Jason Colquitt, CEO of Across Healthcare; Wendy Erler, vice president of Patient Experience, STAR and Advocacy at Alexion Pharmaceuticals; Simon Frost, CEO of Tiber Capital Group; Peter Goodhand, CEO of Global Alliance for Genomics and Health; Cynthia Grossman, PhD, director at Biogen; Walt Kowtoniuk, PhD, COO of MOMA Therapeutics and venture partner at Third Rock Ventures; Craig Martin, president of Rithm Health and interim CEO at Global Genes; Katherine Maynard, principal at PWR; Angeli Moeller, PhD, head of Pharma Informatics International at Roche; David Pearce, PhD, president of Innovation and Research for Sanford Health; Anthony Philippakis, MD, PhD, chief data officer at Broad Institute; John Reynders, PhD, chief data scientist at Reynders Consulting; Morrie Ruffin, co-founder and board member of ARM Foundation for Cell and Gene Medicine and managing partner, Adjuvant Partners; Alvin Shih, MD, president and CEO at Catamaran Bio.


RARE-X is a 501(c)(3) patient advocacy organization focused on supporting the acceleration and development of life-altering treatments and future cures for patients impacted by rare disease. Enabled by best-in-class technology, patients, researchers, and other technology vendors, RARE-X will gather structured, fit-for-purpose data to share broadly, benefitting from 21st-century governance, consent, and federated data sharing technology. RARE-X is building the largest collaborative patient-driven, open-data access project for rare diseases globally. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Tom Hume, Marketing Communications RARE-X

Media Contact

Tom Hume, RARE-X, 7602144863,


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RARE-X Announces the Expansion of its Board of Directors to Support the Organization's Growth and Launch Efforts - WFMZ Allentown

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Pfizer to nearly halve COVID-19 vaccine production timeline, sterile injectables VP says – FiercePharma

Posted: February 15, 2021 at 3:17 am

With an upsized production goal of 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses this year, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech arent resting on their laurels now that their shot, Comirnaty, has emergency nods in the U.S., Europe and beyond. As the companies continueto build out capacity, manufacturing efficiency is getting its own boost, Pfizerrevealed.

The time it takes the companyto produce a COVID-19 vaccine batch could soon be cut from 110 days to an average of just 60, Chaz Calitri, vice president of sterile injectables, told USA Today. We call this Project Light Speed, and its called that for a reason, he said. Just in the last month, weve doubled output.

One element teed up for acceleration is DNA productionthe first step inPfizers vaccine manufacturing process, Calitri explained. Making that DNA originally took 16 days, but the process will soon take just nine or 10 days, he said.

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RELATED:Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson balk at shareholders' push for COVID-19 vaccine pricing info

Production efficiencies aside, the company is also looking to dial up capacity with the addition of new manufacturing lines atall three of its U.S. plants, USA Today said.Demand for a functional shot meant Pfizer didnt have the span of several years typically required to refineits manufacturing process, so the company is improving as it goes, Calitri noted.We just went straight into commercial production," he said.

Engineers took an eye to improving manufacturing the moment vials started coming off production lines, which led the company to make a lot of really slick enhancements, he added.

A Pfizer spokesperson confirmed Calitris comments to Fierce Pharma via email.

RELATED:First-to-market Pfizer expects a whopping $15B from its COVID-19 shot in 2021

Pfizer and BioNTechs manufacturing network depends on six facilities split between Europe and the U.S. Stateside, the vaccine starts its life at Pfizers Chesterfield, Missouri, plant, where the DNA is produced. It then heads to the companys facility in Andover, Massachusetts, for transcription into mRNA, before finally making its way to Kalamazoo, Michigan for fill-finishwith lipid and lipid nanoparticle production and formulation taking place somewhere prior to that final step.Calitri heads up operations at the Kalamazoo plant.

Pfizer and BioNTechs mRNA-based vaccine last year became the first COVID-19 shot authorized in Europe and the U.S. On deck to supply hundreds of millions of doses to those two regions alone, BioNTechs CEO Uur ahin recently said the companies would boost their 2021 output target to 2 billion doses from a prior goal of 1.3 billion.

At the time, ahin pinned those production hopes on six global manufacturing sites tapped in the companies alliance, including a facility in Marburg, Germany, that he said was expected to go live by the end of February.

RELATED:Could combining Pfizer's and AZ's COVID-19 vaccines fill supply gaps? U.K. researchers aim to find out

A little more than a week later, the biotech won approval to start manufacturing itsvaccine at the Marburg site, which employs 300 people and is set to produce up to 750 million doses annually, German news outlet Hessenschau reported.

The announcement ran up against news that BioNTech was carrying out a factory upgrade in Puurs, Belgium that would allow itto deliver significantly more doses in the second quarterthough that production boost came with a catch: namely, a short-term disruption of supply in Europe, Canada and a few other countries.

Meanwhile, in a sign of the unconventional alliancesCOVID-19 has fostered, Pfizer and BioNTech recently got some added manufacturing muscle from two Big Pharma rivals. Sanofi in late January said it would produce more than 100 million Comirnaty doses in Europe in 2021, with the first deliveries from its site in Frankfurt, Germany, expected by August, a company spokesperson told Fierce Pharma.

Just a few days later, Swiss drugmaker Novartis said it would pitch in, too, agreeing to carry out fill-finish work at its facility in Stein, Switzerland, where production is pegged to start in the second quarter.

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Pfizer to nearly halve COVID-19 vaccine production timeline, sterile injectables VP says - FiercePharma

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New EU Consortium shaping the future of Quantum Computing USA – PRNewswire

Posted: February 15, 2021 at 3:16 am

Europe has always been excellent in academic research, but over the past few decades commercializing research projects has been slow compared to international competition. This is starting to change with quantum technologies. As one of the largest efforts in Europe and worldwide, Germany announced 2 Billion funding into quantum programs in June 2020, from which 120 Million are invested in this current round of research grants.

Today, IQM announced a Quantum project consortium that includes Europe's leading startups (ParityQC, IQM), industry leaders (Infineon Technologies), research centers (Forschungszentrum Jlich),supercomputing centers (Leibniz Supercomputing Centre), and academia (Freie Universitt Berlin) has been awarded 12.4 Million from the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (Announcement in German).

The scope of the project is to accelerate commercialization through an innovative co-design concept. This project focuses on application-specific quantum processors, which have the potential to create a fastlane to quantum advantage. The digital-analog concept used to operate the processors will further lay the foundation for commercially viable quantum computers. This project will run for four years and aims to develop a 54-qubit quantum processor.

The project is intended to support the European FET Flagship project EU OpenSuperQ, announced in 2018 which is aimed at designing, building, and operating a quantum information processing system of up to 100 qubits. Deploying digital-analog quantum computing, this consortium adds a new angle to the OpenSuperQ project and widens its scope. With efforts from Munich, Berlin and Jlich, as well as Parity QC from Austria, the project builds bridges and seamlessly integrates into the European quantum landscape.

"The grant from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germanyis a huge recognition of our unique co-design approach for quantum computers. Last year when we established our office in Munich, this was one of our key objectives. The concept allows us to become a system integrator for full-stack quantum computers by bringing together all the relevant players. As Europe's leading startup in quantum technologies, this gives us confidence to further invest in Germany and other European countries" said Dr. Jan Goetz, CEO of IQM Quantum Computers.

As European technology leader, Germany is taking several steps to lead the quantum technology race. An important role of such leadership is to bring together the European startups, industry, research and academic partners. This project will give the quantum landscape in Germany an accelerated push and will create a vibrant quantum ecosystem in the region for the future.

Additional Quotes:

"DAQC is an important project for Germany and Europe. It enables us to take a leading role in the area of quantum technologies. It also allows us to bring quantum computing into one of the prime academic supercomputing centres to more effectively work on the important integration of high-performance computing and quantum computing. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration," said Prof. DrMartinSchulz, Member of the Board of Directors, Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ).

"The path towards scalable and fully programmable quantum computing will be the parallelizability of gates and building with reduced complexity in order to ensure manageable qubit control. Our ParityQC architecture is the blueprint for a fully parallelizable quantum computer, which comes with the associated ParityOS operating system. With the team of extraordinary members of the DAQC consortium this will allow us to tackle the most pressing and complex industry-relevant optimization problems." saidMagdalena Hauser & Wolfgang Lechner, CEOs & Co-founder ParityQC

"We are looking forward to exploring and realizing a tight connection between hardware and applications, and having DAQC quantum computers as a compatible alternative within the OpenSuperQ laboratory. Collaborations like this across different states, and including both public and private partners, have the right momentum to move quantum computing in Germany forward." saidProf. Frank Wilhelm-Mauch, Director, Institute for Quantum Computing Analytics, Forschungszentrum Jlich

"At Infineon, we are looking forward to collaborating with top-class scientists and leading start-ups in the field of quantum computing in Europe. We must act now if we in Germany and Europe do not want to become solely dependent on American or Asian know-how in this future technology area. We are very glad to be part of this highly innovative project and happy to contribute with our expertise in scaling and manufacturing processes." saidDr.Sebastian Luber, Senior Director Technology & Innovation, Infineon Technologies AG

"This is a hugely exciting project. It is a chance of Europe and Germany to catch up in the development of superconducting quantum computers. I am looking forward to adventures on understanding how such machines can be certified in their precise functioning." said Prof.Jens Eisert, Professor of Quantum Physics, Freie Universitt Berlin

About IQM Quantum Computers:

IQM is the European leader in superconducting quantum computers, headquartered in Espoo, Finland. Since its inception in 2018, IQM has grown to 80+ employees and has also established a subsidiary in Munich, Germany, to lead the co-design approach. IQM delivers on-premises quantum computers for research laboratories and supercomputing centers and provides complete access to its hardware. For industrial customers, IQM delivers quantum advantage through a unique application-specific co-design approach. IQM has raised 71 Million from VCs firms and also public grants and is also building Finland's first quantum computer.

For more information, visit

Registered offices:

IQM Finland OyKeilaranta 1902150

IQM GERMANY GmbHNymphenburgerstr. 8680636 MnchenGermany

IQM: Facts and Figures


Media Contact: Raghunath Koduvayur, Head of Marketing and Communications, [emailprotected], +358504876509

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New EU Consortium shaping the future of Quantum Computing USA - PRNewswire

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3 ways nanotechnology can improve tomorrow’s cars – Automotive News

Posted: February 15, 2021 at 3:15 am

With emissions reduction regulations and the popularity of electric vehicles at an all-time high, automakers are under tremendous pressure to make their internal combustion engine vehicles more fuel efficient and raise the performance of their EVs. This means they are having to look at every possible aspect of a vehicle to help it meet green regulations and consumer desires.

For example, by using nanotechnology-powered glass such as suspended particle device, or SPD, variable light transmission glass in sunroofs instead of the bulky sliding overhead panel we are all familiar with, automakers have been able to provide additional headroom for passengers without having to compromise driving stability and safety by raising the center of gravity in cars and utilities. One automaker has publicly calculated that the use of SPD smart glass can eliminate the need for 54 components in their panoramic sunroofs and reduce weight in the roof by 13 pounds.

Another automaker has calculated that this technology can reduce cabin temperature by 18 degrees without using air conditioning. This not only allows automakers to reduce weight and add space by reducing the size of air conditioning compressors by 40 percent but also reduces CO2 emissions by up to 4 grams per kilometer and increases the driving range of electric vehicles by 5.5 percent.

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3 ways nanotechnology can improve tomorrow's cars - Automotive News

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Where does nanotechnology fit in the ingredients equation? – FOOD Magazine – Australia

Posted: February 15, 2021 at 3:15 am

Up until 20 years ago, not much was happening in the field of nano technology as it related to food and beverages. However, in the past 15 to 20 years there have been a number of academic papers published, as well as references made, with regard to the technology and how it can be applied to this industry.

In the December issue of Food & Beverage Industry News, Dr Julian McClements distinguished professor at Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, adjunct professor, School of Food Science and Bioengineering at Zhejaing Gongshang Uni, China, and visiting professor, Harvard University, talked about the future of food. And part of that future included nanotechnology.

While the idea of nanotechnology in food is exciting, there are many facets that have yet to be discovered and it is important that when delving into nano technology in this arena that proper research and development is carried out.

Nanoparticles are a key ingredient to nanotechnology, but what are they?

If you look at something like a pumpkin, and you were standing on the moon and looking at the Earth and I held the pumpkin up in my garden, you wouldnt see it because the pumpkin is very tiny compared to the Earth, said McClements. It is about 10 million times smaller. Now, if you compare a nanoparticle to the pumpkin, it is 10 million times smaller than a pumpkin. That gives you an idea of just how tiny nano particles are. But what is incredible is that even though they are that small, we can still fabricate them, characterise them and still use them for different functional purposes.

There are several types of nanoparticles that are available in food. Organic nanoparticles can be made out of fats of lipids, or surfactant micelles that are found in milk. They can be made out of proteins, like casein micelles., or they can be made out of carbohydrates like nano starch. They can be found in nature or they can be made and can be used for different functional purposes to change the texture or bioviability of ingredients.

According to McClements, often when the idea of nanotechnology in foods is brought up, some people think they will have a negative impact on the food chain. However, nature has been putting nanoparticles in food for millions of years.

If you look at breast milk from a mother or milk from cows, they have casein micelles in them and those casein micelles are 50 to 500nm, said McClements. And they are micelles that nature has created to incorporate proteins, phosphates and calcium in a form that can get digested in your body quickly and release all these nutrients and feed the growing infant. Just because something is a growing nanoparticle doesnt mean its dangerous. You can also get other kinds of nanoparticles like oil bodies in oil seeds. Things like soy beans. If you look inside soy beans they have tiny nanoparticles in there that are like parts surrounded by proteins and these can be in the nano range as well.

Alternatively, it is possible to engineer nanoparticles. McClements gives the example of where he grew up in Northern England where there is a titanium dioxide factory near the house where he lived. They made tiny titanium dioxide particles, which were about the same size as a wavelength of light so they scatter the light strongly and they had a very high refracted index that made them good light gatherers.

If you look at the paint on my wall, the white paint has got a lot of titanium dioxide in it to make it look bright, he said. We put the same particles in foods. A lot of foods, like chewing gum, or bakery products, or the dust you get on doughnuts, has got titanium dioxide in it to make it look white and bright. If you are a food manufacturer you might potentially make these nanoparticles, or they might just occur in the product unintentionally. You didnt mean to make them, but the process you use means they end up in your food. When you are making engineered nanoparticles, are trying to do in the food industry is to create some novel effects in our foods, or we are trying to improve food quality, or safety or the nutritional properties of food?

Why use nanoparticles?

An important attribute of nanoparticles if that they are of a very small size. It is possible to take a regular food ingredient and shrink it down to the nano size where it will behave very differently to a normal food ingredient. For example, if a manufacturer is trying to deliver a bioactive component to the human body. If its small enough, it can penetrate through the mucus layer and through epithelial cells and be absorbed into the body, whereas a larger particle would be incapable of achieving such a feat.

This is because the pores in the mucus layer that enclose our intestinal tract are about 400nm. If the particle is small enough it will get through, said McClements. The same with things like microbial cells. They are covered by a coating and if you can get them small enough they can get through. That is one reason you might use nanoparticles in food.

Another characteristic of nanoparticles is the high surface area. If there is a given mass of a material and a manufacturer makes it smaller and smaller, then the surface area increases. That can change the behaviour of the food.

In foods there are a lot of things that happen at the interfaces, said McClements. For example, lipid oxidation in a lot of food products happens at the water/oil interface, or lipid digestion happens there. As you increase the interface, you increase the lipid oxidation, or lipid digestion. In some cases that is good, in other cases it can be detrimental.

If you look at the molecular interaction of a molecule the surface of a material theyre different from the interactions with a normal material. For example, the melting point or the boiling point or the density and chemical reality of the molecule changes as the surface does. If we make things smaller and smaller, we can change the surface chemistry and the way theseparticles behave.

Enhancing food supply

Now that nanoparticles are used in food, how can a food manufacturer employ them into their production line and what are some of the benefits.One of the ways is to make food ingredients invisible, which sounds weird, said McClements. Say you wanted to make a transparent beverage. You want a clear beverage but you want to have an oil-soluble component in it. Normally when you put an oil soluble component in it, it wouldnt mix with water and you would get a layer of oil on top. Or you would use a conventional homogenisation technology and you would use something that is a few hundred nanometres and it would scatter light very strongly and would look something like milk. It would look very creamy. However, if you use special fabrication methods, you can make a system that has got fat in it but it looks transparent. And the way you do that is make the particles very small. Much smaller than the wavelength of light and they scatter light very weakly and therefore they look clear. When the particle size is about the same size as the wavelength of light, they scatter strongly. This is one application that the beverage industry is already using to put soluble flavours and colours and vitamins into beverage products.

Shelf life

It is also possible to use nanotechnology to increase shelf life. Around the world there are currently a lot of microbreweries opening so people are trying to make new types of beers, with all sorts of weird and interesting ingredients, according to McClements. There are often precipitates of sediments in these products., which are also found in dressings and plant-based milks and similar products.

Using nanotechnology you can try and improve the shelf life of these products and improve the stability of these products by making particles very small. There are two ways you can do this. One is to help prevent particle aggregation and the second helps stop creaming and sedimentation, he said. With creaming and sedimentation, if you have a particle in some kind of food product you want it to stay stable so that the particle looks homogenous. Any particle that has two different forces acting on it. One of them is gravity and that will tend to make the particles move upwards. The other is Brownian motion, which is like the random collisions of the molecules revolving around it. This wants to randomise the system. Brownian wants to make it homogenous and gravity wants all the particles to go to the top or bottom depending on the density distance. What you will find is that gravity increases as the particle size increases. This means things tend to separate more quickly as the particles get bigger. Whereas Brownian motion tends to increase as the particles get smaller. When the particles are small enough, the gravity forces are very weak and the Brownian motion is very strong and you can prevent creaming or sedimentation from occurring.

Then there is the ability to change the stability of particles to aggregation. When the particles aggregate they often make the creaming and aggregation faster. McClements did an experiment a few years ago where he made protein stabilised emulsion droplets and made them large and small and his team calculated the colloidal actions between them. What they found was that if there are very small particles, the colloidal interactions forces between the particles were very small.

These are so small the attracted sources that the emulsion stays stable and the product can a have a long shelf life. If the particles are bigger, the attractive forces are much stronger and then you tend to get aggregation and creaming of droplets. This experiment was an example of that by making the droplets very small, you can improve the shelf life of a product. That is the physical stability of foods, said McClements.

Reducing calorie count

Finally, McClements team also did another experiment by trying to make food healthier by trying to reduce its calorie count.

What we wanted to do was make things like sauces and salad dressings, or mayonnaise, which have nice, creamy textures, but with a much lower fat content, he said. What we did in this experiment was we made up two types of protein stabilised emulsions at pH7. One of them was stabilised by lactoferrin which was positive pH7, while the other was stabilised by -lactoglobulin, which is negative at pH7.

We either used the pure proteins or we used a mixture of these different emulsions. If you have pure -lactoglobulins then the particles are negative, and have a very low viscosity like in milk so you could just pour it. If you had pure lactoferrin it was positive, and again you have a very low viscosity and you could just pour it. This is because the droplets have a high charge and they all repel each other and therefore you wont get any aggregation in the system. If you mix these two oppositely charged particles together, they aggregate with each other because of the attraction. They form a 3D network that extends over the whole product, and you get a paste-like, creamy product. You have a very low fat content but you have a high viscosity.

Typically to get this type of viscosity you would have to get 40 to 50 per cent fat in there. This is a potential strategy to get reduced fat in foods to address things like obesity and diabetes.

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Where does nanotechnology fit in the ingredients equation? - FOOD Magazine - Australia

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