Prabir Dutta, Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor
College of Arts and Sciences
Primary Food Innovation Center Area: Food Safety
Areas of Expertise: nanoparticles, toxicity, sensors, metal oxides, adsorption
Nanomaterials are expected to be increasingly incorporated into food ingredients and food packaging. The unique chemical and physical properties of nanoparticles that make it attractive for use in the food industry include surface characteristics, optical properties, guest molecule stabilization, and targeted delivery. Issues of nanoparticle stability, long-term storage and costs are also critical to the food industry, and so is the issue of nanoparticle toxicity. In a collaborative effort between Dutta (Chemistry), Rathman (Chemical Engineering) and Waldman (Pathology), we are examining how the physicochemical properties of commercially available nanoparticles influence the interactions with intestinal epithelial cells, with particular focus on toxicity, bioavailability and tissue distribution. We are also developing methodology to track the routes of distribution and sites of accumulation of ingested food-relevant nanoparticles in vivo. Nanoparticles of interest are zinc oxide, silica, titania, silver, lycophene and tristearin coated versions of these nanoparticles.