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Food biosecurity and safety refers to the policies and procedures designed to prevent the deliberate theft or diversion of deadly pathogens and toxin. Biosecurity is a term whose definition has no broad acceptance in the international community. The term originally described efforts to prevent infectious disease in crops and live stock, particularly poultry. Biosecurity and safety are measures that can or should be taken to keep diseases (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and parasites) from farm and to prevent the transmission of disease within infected farms to neighboring farms. Thus biosecurity and safety includes containment principles, facility design, practices and procedures to prevent occupational infections in the biomedical environment or release of the organisms to the environment. (Nordmann BN, 2010)
In other countries however the concept of biosafety in enmeshed with the concept of biosecurity and a single word is used for much broader and less specific definitions than in the USA. In Germany for example the word for both concepts is bioversicherung; in Spanish-speaking countries the word is bioseguridad. As we have begun to see the world in terms of multipolar, multithread environment, the perception of biosecurity threat and how to respond to it has also changed. Biorisk and matrix to measure weighted value of each risk have become the norm, and biosecurity and biosafety have come to encompass the use of proper safety measures and facility specifications as well as the proper training of employees to ensure not only their own safety but that of the public at large. (Gaudioso J et al, 2009)
Another key difference is that biosecurity currently tends to be implemented through regulatory requirements, while the implementation of biosafety is implemented by is primarily driven by worker safety, best practices and guidance. E.g. over the last decade, the US. Department enacted extensive biosecurity legislation, including criminal and civil penalties giving the regulatory authority to establish controls on the possessions, use, and transfer of select biological agents. Not many countries have implemented biosecurity regulations as yet but those that have typically take similar approach, with regulatory requirements for security based on schedules of pathogens and toxins, with specific lists of pathogens and toxins subject to control. (Rajesh et al. 2009)
As important as waste materials in agricultural field, a major concern is that of food safety of the food products. Far too often food contains bacteria and viruses which frequently end in illness and sometimes fatality the most likely area in which food biosafety and security can be controlled is the implementation of analysis and detection of pathogenic organisms through the use of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology bio-sensors and tracers can be used to detect the quality of and the health of agricultural products and livestock, advances nano-sensors that can detect surface and airborne pathogens are already in the lab for construction. (Gaudioso J et al.2009)
Literature on biosensors and tracers
Food safety is a major concern for food producers, consumers and food safety authorities in the recent times. The application of nanosensors will help reduce such concerns and help reduce problems that may be uncounted during food processing. Nanosensors may help food safety improvements by enabling faster quality assurance and testing. These sensors can be integrated in food processing equipments and do not introduce nanoparticles into foods itself to reduce food contaminations since other particles may be toxic to humans and to other nutrients since they can react with them. Nanotracers are small elements which are put into food materials to target certain components when they are required to do work at a certain level when nanosensors have detected pathogenic microorganisms in food particles (Siegrist M et al, 2008)
A nanosensors are devices consisting of an electronic data processing element and a sensing layer or part which translates a signal such as light or the presence of an organic substance or any other pathogenic microorganism that may be present in a food component, nanotracers will only be secreted when a detection by nanosensors have occurred to kill bacteria. The electrodes or active layer can be structured in a nanometer scale (nano means 1 billionth of something). Nanosensors applications are based on metal oxide semiconductor field effects transistor. There also a cantilever sensors which are particularly used in liquid foods (JJ mellem 2011).
Cantilever sensor is with tiny cantilevers with a biochemical layer which can detect the presence of a pest or disease, if there is a presence of foreign matter molecules from cantilever will attach to the detection layer. There also a micro-fluidics devises which can be used to detect pathogens in real time and are highly sensitivity, a major advantage of micro-fluidics sensors is their miniature format and their ability to detect compounds of interest rapidly in only microliters or required sample volumes. The main aim of nanosensors is to reduce the time for pathogen detection from days to hours or even minutes. Such nanosensors are based could be places directly into food packaging material, where they would serve as an electronic tongue or noses by detection by detecting released during food spoilage. Nanotracers work simultaneously with nanosensors because they are needed to be in food components so that enzymatic processes do not affect or denature them in early stages when they are not in use in a sense that pathogenic microorganisms have not been detected as a result nanotracers are not in use for their functional importance of targeting and killing microorganisms. (Sozer N and Kokini JL, 2008)
Nanosensors and tracers can be used in connection with wireless networks or electronic devices to monitor the growth of crops in farms and for the pest control of crops growing in the field or for quality control of milk during industrial processing where it was stated earlier that cantilevers can be used to monitor liquid foods. Other types of nanosensors can be integrated in food packaging to show whether the product is still safe for human consumption, nanosensors may be also used to detect food spoilage by changing color when the food have spoilt or no longer fresh thatâ€™s where the use of nanotracers that attacks spoilage microorganisms after being detection by nanosensors have occurred.
Governments and food companies in several countries are investing in hundreds of projects developing nanotechnology in food industry and agricultural sectors. Nanotechnology can be applied in all aspects of the food chain, both improving food safety and quality control and as novel food ingredients which may be used in a form of nanosensors and nanotracers. With the effects of the emerging and increase of microbial organisms resistant to multiple antibiotics and the continuity emphasis on health care costs.
In the food sectors one of the most important problems is the time consuming and laborious processes of quality control analysis. Innovative devices and techniques such as nanosensors and nanotracers are being developed that can facilitate the preparation of food samples and their analysis. From this point of view, the development of nanosensors to detect microorganisms and contaminants is particularly promising application of food nanotechnology. There are social and ethical issues of using nanotechnology in food substances in the food sector that must be considered such as their potential risks of nonomaterials on human health and the environment are known (Sozer N and Kokini JL. 2008). Whatever impacts of nanotechnology on the food industry and products entering the market, the safety of the food will remain the prime concern and will be the most considered factor from food industries. This need will strengthen the adoption of nanosensors in sensing applications, which will ensure food safety and security as well as technology which will alert consumers and shopkeepers when a food is nearing the end of its shelf life. New antimicrobial coatings and dirt repellent plastics are remarkable improvement in ensuring the safety and security of packaged foods.
In the food industry, several novel applications of nanotechnology have become apparent including the use of nanoparticles, such as micelles, liposomes, nanoemulsions, biopolymeric nanoparticles, and nanocubosomes as well as the development of nanosensors and nanotracers which are aimed in improving both food safety and food biosecurity. With emerging and increase of microorganisms resistant to multiple antibiotics and the continuing health-care costs effective, effective antimicrobial agents free of resistance and cost. The antimicrobial effects of silver salts have been noticed since antiquity and silver currently used to control bacterial growth in a variety of applications. Silver ions and based compounds are highly toxic to microorganisms, showing strong biocidal effects as many as 12 species of bacteria including E.coli. Reducing the particle size of materials is an efficient and reliable tool for improving biocompatibility. Nanotechnology helps in overcoming the limitations of size. Nonomaterials can be modified for better efficiency to facilitate their applications in different fields such as bioscience and medicine. (Rajesh et al, 2009)