Micronanostructure: A Key to Unlock the Complex System of Food
When food ingredients undergo processing, some compositions interact with each other to generate new attributes as is in Maillard reaction, while some others can rid themselves of the confinement of the original structures and migrate from the solid phase to the solution phase with the disruption of cellular structures. The former reaction has been extensively investigated, but the latter remains almost unknown. Our recent works indicate that the latter is the physiochemical reaction that endows food with some of its most important biological functions. Upon entering the liquid phase, some of the selected newly liberated molecules assemble into new structures in nano to micro scale with outstanding excellent physiochemical and biological properties.
With this insight, even cooking is no more a low-tech or no-tech chore but a process for natural nanoparticle preparation, and food is a micronanosystem most closely related to the wellness human being. What the formation of nanoparticle as a result of processing will be illustrated with our work on nanoparticles from Alisma orientalis, a medicinal herb. Meanwhile, by a method of visualization of intracellular superoxide distribution in living rats, through the connection of the bile duct, the hepatic superoxide was found to be discharged into the intestine, the most important site for food and body interaction. With the insight of the intestine’s involvement in the storage and disposal of superoxide as the visceral organ’s metabolic waste, the interaction of food MicroNanoparticles with the body can be expected to be elucidated to be of much greater significance than ever imagined in a more straightforward manner, and the notion that food will be thy medicine can be in a more convincing manner.
Prof. Rao is a Professor and founding director of CAS.SIBS-Zhejiang Gongshang University Joint Center for Food and Nutrition Research. He received his Ph.D in Biochemistry from Osaka University of Japan in 1989, MSc in Food Science from Hiroshima University of Japan in 1986 and BEng in Food Technology from Fuzhou University of China in 1982. He was the past President (2012-2014) of the International Union of Food Science and Technology, a Fellow of International Academy of Food Science and technology, Vice President of the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology. His research focuses primarily on identifying and characterizing bioactive proteins and expression and scale production of recombinant enzymes, protein derivatives as the ingredients of tradition Chinese medicine and food, new methodology for cell separation and superoxide channels.