Nanotechnology is an emerging field of science, and nanotechnological concepts have been intensively studied for potential applications in the food industry. Nanoparticles (with dimensions ranging from one to several hundred nanometers) have specific characteristics and better functionality, thanks to their size and other physicochemical properties. Polyphenols are recognized as active compounds that have several putative beneficial properties, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer activity. However, the use of polyphenols as functional food ingredients faces numerous challenges, such as their poor stability, solubility, and bioavailability. These difficulties could be solved relatively easily by the application of encapsulation. The objective of this review is to present the most recent accomplishments in the usage of polyphenol-loaded nanoparticles in food science. Nanoparticles loaded with polyphenols and their applications as active ingredients for improving physicochemical and functional properties of food, or as components of active packaging materials, were critically reviewed. Potential adverse effects of polyphenol-loaded nanomaterials are also discussed.
Keywords: food packaging; food processing; functional food; nanofood; nanomaterials; nanoparticles; nanotechnology; polyphenols.