Posted: February 12, 2007

Are you ready for your nanotechnology engineered wine?

(Nanowerk News) Are you ready for your programmable wine - maybe a pico-pinot or a nano-nebbiolo? Or want to take the red out of your red wine? Welcome to the world of nanofoods. Two recent articles on a South African wine website and a UK newspaper shed light on what the large food manufacturers are planning to do with food. Its mostly based on nano-encapsulation technology that will make nanotechnology engineered foods a reality – a new world of unlimited choices to some, Frankenfood to others.
Take wine for example.
Researchers at US food giant Kraft have developed a colorless, tasteless liquid in the lab that consumers will design after you've bought it. You'll decide what color and flavor you'd like the drink to be, and what nutrients it will have in it, once you get home. You'll zap the product with a correctly-tuned microwave transmitter. This will activate nano-capsules – each one about 2,000 times smaller than the width of a hair – containing the necessary chemicals for your choice of drink: green-hued, blackcurrant-flavoured with a touch of caffeine and omega-3 oil, say.
Unactivated nano-capsules pass through the body and are excreted while those switched on by Kraft's microwaves will impart taste, flavor, appearance and even nutritional content to a designer drink. Feel like a glass of Sauvignon Blanc? Switch on the green peppers (capsicum if you feel in an Aussie or pretentious South African mood). Syrah? Dial up some wood smoke, sweaty saddles and spice.
"Goodbye cork taint, hello programmable alcohol levels – nanotechnology can deliver solutions to the age-old problems of wine" writes Neil Pendock.
Already in use in brewing and dairy production are nano-filters - screens so small they can filter out micro-organisms and even viruses. In lab experiments with these nanofilters, the color has been removed from red wine, turning it into white.
Nano-encapsulation of flavor molecules will allow chefs to accurately determine how spicy they wish a dish to be perceived and tune it to a diner's preferences, or even allow nano-capsules to be selectively activated during a meal. Activation by wine is one example.
If that's too much for you, maybe the scientists at Kraft will create a special beverage for you called "traditional wine"...
Source: The Guardian;
Want to read more? Have a look at our recent Nanowerk Spotlight "Nanotechnology food coming to a fridge near you"