Women in Nanoscience


Women in Nano Blog

How safe are nanoparticles in food and cosmetics? Gretchen Mahler explains....

Posted on June 20, 2015 at 10:35 PM

Nanoparticles are widely used in the food and cosmetic industries, as an additive to stabilize or enhance the texture, color, or state of the contents. Inevitably, these nanoparticles are ingested into our body as we consume the processed food or use cosmetic products, and although the nanoparticles themselves are FDA-approved additives, how they interact with our body and their potential side effects in the longer term have not been fully understood.


Prof. Gretchen Mahler, an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering at Binghamton University, uses a 3-D cell-culture model of the gastrointestinal tract to investigate this question: how does ingesting nanoparticles affect glucose processing and gut microbiome activity? Her early results suggest that nanoparticle ingestion could alter glucose absorption, and the presence of beneficial gut bacteria could counteract to these effects. Continuation of this research could provide important insights into understanding whether the nanoparticles ingested through processed food are linked to some of the most common health issues, such as metabolic disorders and obesity.

Prof. Mahler's work on this topic and her collaboration with other researchers have been featured in Phys.org and ScienceDaily.

(Photo credit: Provide by Prof. Mahler, credit to: Jonathan Cohen/Binghamton University).

- Written by Eugene Choi, Edited by Paulette Clancy

Categories: WINnews

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