Pet Food Ingredients / Pet Food Safety
on October 2, 2012

Nanotechnology comes to petfood

While this emerging science offers great promise for advancements—and lower costs—in pet nutrition, safety is not yet proven

["Nanotechnology is more than the science of small things.", "At the nanoparticle size, quantum physics dictates the behavior of particles.", "If it is so easy for a nanoparticle to be absorbed, how will it ever be excreted?"]

Nanotechnology is a new and emerging science that deserves our attention, not just out of curiosity but also out of our own self-interest. Nanotechnology is more than the science of small things; it is nearly as profound as the discovery of another previously unknown universe simultaneously inhabiting the same time and space that we do. How can nanoparticles do this? Because their size is 1/60,000th the diameter of a human hair.

Nanotechnology is defined  as “the manipulation, precision placement, measurement, modeling or manufacture of sub-100 nanometer scale matter” (European Commission, 2001). At this dimension, the physical and biological properties of materials differ in fundamental and valuable ways from the properties of individual atoms and molecules of bulk matter, but what does this mean in practical terms?

Of immediate benefit to us is the fact that at the nanoparticle size, Newtonian physics—the physics that governs the behavior of particles in our everyday world—is often no longer valid. At the nanoparticle size, quantum physics dictates the behavior of particles, which no longer act as the sum of all the constituent atoms; because of the change in surface to mass ratio, individual atoms within the molecule or even a simple element begin to have much more influence. Therefore, common substances, whose behaviors may be…

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