Purdue University logoWhen at a food store, most of us prefer picking foods that have a longer shelf life. Now a scientist from the Purdue University seems to have discovered a manner in which the shelf life of many food products can be lengthened. Using a nanoparticle from corn, the scientist claims that this way it could also sustain their health benefits.

The scientist reveals to have successfully modified the phytoglycogen Nanoparticle. It is known to be a starch like substance that comprises of nearly 30 percent of the dry mass of some sweet corn. The transformation could allow the nanoparticle to attach to oils, emulsifying them.

Yuan Yao, an assistant professor of food science, is of the opinion that at the same time, it could also be functioning as a barrier to oxidation, which appears to cause food to become rancid.

Destabilizing oil droplets in emulsified food, oxidation is also known to degrade and modify the chemical structure of the oil apparently causing it to go bad. This is considered to occur in a host of products and seems to decrease their shelf life considerably.

“This can be widely used in the food industry, cosmetics and nutritional supplements, any system in which the oxidation of lipids is a concern,” Yao mentioned. “The shelf life of a product can be low and the quality of the food can become bad because of the oxidation of the lipids.”

In fish oils, the investigator suggests the lipid oxidation supposedly degrades Omega-3 fatty acids. These are claimed to be necessary for infant development and may also play a role in aiding those with chronic inflammatory and heart diseases in adults.

After changing the surface of phytoglycogen nanoparticle, Yao claims to have been able to make it behave like an emulsifier. He created phytoglycogen octenyl succinate, or PG-OS which was supposedly thicker and denser than commonly used emulsifiers. This may allow it to develop an enhanced defense from oxygen, free radical and metal ions, which may cause lipid oxidation.

In addition to this, the novel findings also seem to exhibit that ε-polylysine which is a food-grade polypeptide, could be added to the oil droplets. This may aid in the protection from oxidation. Allowing it to fill in the gaps between PG-OS nanoparticles, polylysine is supposedly much smaller than the PG-OS nanoparticles.

Yao’s analysis further reveals that PG-OS nanoparticles with e-polylysine may considerably augment the time period taken for oxidation to ruin the oil droplets. In certain cases, it could also double the shelf life of the model product. To test the shelf life, the emulsifiers were warmed and evaluated for chemical reactions that signaled occurrence of oxidation. Yao has already filed a provisional patent application for the technology.

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has published these findings.