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Posted: March 30, 2009
What Nanotechnology Can Do for Your Average DonutWhat Nanotechnology Can Do for Your Average Donut
What Nanotechnology Can Do for Your Average Donut
What nanotechnology can do for the average donut
(Nanowerk News) "From Donuts to Drugs: Nano-Biotechnology Evolution or Revolution?" – that was the title of a seminar by the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in Chicago last month.
From the food we eat to the medicines we take, nanotechnology is being heralded as something that will revolutionize our world. The manipulation of matter at the scale of atoms and molecules is leading to new materials and innovative devices. But are these advances truly revolutionary, or do they simply reflect an evolution in our knowledge and abilities?
To examine this question, this panel turned to the interface between nanomaterials and humans. Changing the way materials interact with the human body is a truly diverse field. Food researchers are showing that nanomaterials can transform fatty, sugary products into “healthy” foods with the same taste and texture — donuts that are as good as they taste. Similar technologies are enabling functionality to be engineered into ingredients, blurring the line between nutrients and pharmaceuticals.
This growing understanding of nano-bio interactions is also pushing the boundaries of medical science. Engineered nanoparticles are allowing the living body to be studied in greater depth than ever before, noninvasively; while nano-engineered “smart drugs” are being programmed to take out cancerous cells while leaving healthy tissues intact. Nano-biosensors are emerging that can detect markers of disease early enough to allow effective treatment. Whether looking at donuts or drugs, nanotechnology is changing the tools of science and how research is done. The underlying knowledge may be evolutionary, but the results are truly revolutionary.