Innovations in the food industry are shaped both by new technologies available and by society’s requirements. A good knowledge on the chemistry and biological role of the macro-nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and also energy and water) and micro-nutrients (minerals and vitamins) is required. Food production foundations include not only the design of the food products but also the materials, mechanics, ingredients, conversion and transformation all must be taken into consideration. Edible polymers are polymeric materials that can be easily consumed by human beings or lower animals in whole or part via the oral cavity and given harmless effect to the health. An edible polymer is originated from natural products such as polysaccharides, proteins and lipids, with the addition of plasticizers and surfactants. Radiation-processing technologies are used currently for numerous applications of commercial and economic importance, but it is an emerging application with the use of ionizing radiation to enhance properties of edible polymers such as carbohydrates or proteins. This chapter aims at supplying the state of the art about the effects of ionizing radiation on edible polymers: starch and vegetal proteins and also on gelatin that comes from animal origin.
Part of the book: Radiation Effects in Materials