Polymers for Food Applications: News
Polymers usually are found every day in a myriad of applications, but special importance has the polymers for food applications. In particular, edible polymers are of great importance for human subsistence. Edible polymers from the nutritional point of view have been classified as carbohydrates, proteins, fiber and lipids, i.e. they are considered as macronutrients. The study of edible polymers still booming because of the great demand for healthier and more convenient foods, as well as the development of new food products with better sensory properties, which may have a prolonged shelf life. Many edible polymers being modified have allowed the development of functional or medical foods. Obtaining new products from modified edible polymers has also led to the manufacture of more stable foods, and even that can be administered to people with special dietary regimens such as celiac, phenylketonuric, diabetic, lactose intolerant, among others. The edible polymers have had a positive impact on different sectors of the food industry, from food packaging to the detection of toxic food substances. The edible polymers in essence lead to the production of edible films and membranes, foamed foods, snack, micro- and nanoencapsulated, hydrogels, prebiotics and oligomers, as well as food colloids and emulsions. More recently, edible polymers have also given way to the development of printed and electrospinned foods. This chapter aims to be preamble to the study and analysis of polymers for food applications that will be addressed in the course of this book, which has the contribution of important researchers with extensive experience, which in some cases are editors of major international journals in the field of food science and technology.
KeywordsCarbohydrate polymers Edible polymers Food hydrocolloids Polysaccharide Proteins
The authors would like to thank the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) (Postdoctoral fellowship internal PDTS-Resolution 2417), Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (UNMdP) for financial support, and Dr. Mirian Carmona-Rodríguez.
Conflicts of Interest: The author declares no conflict of interest.
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