All the Nanotech You Can Eat

Illustration for article titled All the Nanotech You Can Eat

Right now you can buy over 600 consumer products that contain some kind of nanomaterial or nanotechnology, and it turns out that a lot of them are edible. The Emerging Nanotechnology Project has compiled a comprehensive list of consumer items that companies are billing as "nanotech," grouping them into categories like "health" (which includes food) and "electronics." Here you can see their chart showing the breakdown of which products you can buy that contain something that can be called "nano." The E-Nano site also lets you search the products for all kinds of keywords. Needless to say, you can find some pretty bizarre shit if you search under "food."


While there are several bizarre items in the nano-cookware category such as "antibacterial cookware," and the "nano silver teapot," the best items are the nano health supplements that just reek of futuristic quackery. How about the "LifePak Nano" supplement, that promises:

Lifepak® nano is a nutritional anti-aging program formulated to nourish and protect cells, tissues, and organs in the body with the specific purpose to guard against the ravages of aging. Lifepak® nano offers the highest bioavailability with a first-ever nanotechnology process and advanced levels of key anti-aging nutrients in a comprehensive formula.

Yeah, you guessed it: "patent pending technology." And then there's the alarmingly-named "Canola Active Oil," which its manufacturer describes thusly:

This technology is called NSSL (Nano-sized self assembled structured liquids), which is a development of minute compressed micelles, which are called nanodrops. These minute micelles serve as a liquid carrier, which allows penetration of healthy components (such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals) that are insoluble in water or fats. The micelles are added to the food product, and thus pass through the digestive system effectively, without sinking or breaking up, to the absorption site. The minute micelles carry the phytosterols to the large micelles that the body produces from the bile acid, where they compete with cholesterol for entry into the micelle. The phytosterols enter the micelle, thereby inhibiting transportation of cholesterol from the digestive system into the bloodstream. This advanced technology was applied in the development of Canola Active oil, produced by Shemen Industries.

Wow, really? I've always wanted to eat something with "self-assembling" as one of its attributes. Plus, doesn't this sound sort of like olestra?

You can search through the nano-product goldmine at the E-Nano Project for yourself.


Consumer Products [Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies]


Annalee Newitz

@Log1c: Waiting for the snortable nano-neurons to make my brain super-fast.