Department of Biotechnology Ministry of Science & Technology Government of India



  1. Abbreviations
  2. Introduction
  3. Scope of the Guideline
  4. General Considerations of the Guideline
  5. Nano-agriproducts: Definition and Categorization
    5.1.1 Definition of nano-agriinproducts (NAIPs)
    5.1.2 Definition of nano-agriproducts (NAPs)5.2. According to degradation nature of nanomaterial
    5.2.1 Biodegradable
    5.2.2 Nonbiodegradable
    5.3 According to chemical nature of NMs
    5.3.1 Organic
    5.3.2 Inorganic
    5.3.3 Composite NMs
    5.4 According to nanoform of the ingredient
    5.4.1 Nanocarriers loaded with Active Ingredient (AI) 5.4.2 Active ingredient converted to nanoform
    5.5. According to the synthesis
    5.5.1 Biologically synthesized NMs
    5.5.2 Chemically synthesized NMs
    5.5.3 Physically synthesized NMz
  6. Scientific rationality of making nano-agriproducts
  7. Specific considerations for evaluation of nanoagri-products
  8. Excipients used in nanoformulations
  9. Stability testing of nano-agriproducts
    9.1. Consideration of test parameters for stability testing of NAIPs and NAPs:
  10. Safety of manufactured nano-agriproducts
  11. Residue analysis (nanoactive ingredients, additives, and nanocarrier materials of nanomaterials in food
  12. Information required for evaluation of nano-agriproducts
  13. Nano Agriproducts: Nanofood and nanofeed products
    13.1 Exposure risk
    13.2 Hazard characterization
    13.3 Uncertainty analysis
  14. Conclusions

15. References


1. Abbreviations

AI Active Ingredients
NAPs Nano-agri products
APVMA Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicine Authority
BIS Bureau of Indian Standards
BrDU Bromodeoxyuridine / 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine
CIB Central Insecticide Board
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
EU European Commission
EDX Energy Dispersive X-Ray spectroscopy
FAO Food and Agricultural Organization
LDH Lactate dehydrogenase
ICP-MS Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
ISO International Organization for Standardization
MTT [3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-Diphenyltetrazolium Bromide]
NAIP Nano-agriinput product
NAP Nano-agriproduct
NMs Nanomaterials
PEG Poly-ethylene glycol
PLA Polylactic acid or polylactide
PLGA poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)
PMRA Pest Management Regulatory Agency
REACH Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals
TG Testing guidelines
TSCA Toxic Substances Control Act
USFDA United States Food and Drug Administration
USEPA US Environmental Protection Agency
WHO World Health Organization
WST-1 Water Soluble Tetrazolium Salts
XRD X-ray powder diffraction
XRF X-ray fluorescence
XTT (2,3-Bis-(2-Methoxy-4-Nitro-5-Sulfophenyl)-2H-Tetrazolium-5-Carboxanilide)


2. Introduction

Nanoparticles acquire unique properties due to their small size to large surface area ratio. It thus supports in development of novel products and processes as well as enhances the performance of existing ones across several disciplines. Nanotechnology has recently been introduced for improvement of agricultural systems through higher crop yield and better crop protection in order to meet the changing needs and domains of providing food to the growing population of the world. The innovative nano-intervention in agriculture and food sector could generate low-cost, high-efficacy solutions in terms of products and processes, especially suitable for developing countries. However, the unique properties can also lead to nanoparticle-related toxicity in humans and environment. The guidelines for evaluation of nanoproducts in agriculture and food are more challenging than the existing procedures for assessment of fertilizers or safety evaluation of pesticides or toxicity evaluation in food. The activity, efficacy and impact of nanomaterials (NMs) depend upon interaction of their physico-chemical parameters with diverse environmental factors and, therefore, require a multidisciplinary approach for development of new alternative strategies and methods for evaluation.

It is imperative to modify the existing policies and also develop certain new standard guidelines for evaluation of novel products on the basis of current scientific understanding. The multidisciplinary nature of nanotechnology and its rapidly increasing scope for development of commercially viable applications pose a huge challenge to regulatory bodies across the globe. Nanotechnology involves an amalgamation of knowledge from various disciplines of science, including chemistry, materials science, physics, biology, engineering and medicine. Such an interdisciplinary nature makes nanoscience an important domain to facilitate enhanced scientific and technological prospects and development of novel applications. Moreover, nanotechnology and nanoproducts are dealt by different ministries and different departments, and thus interdepartmental and inter-ministerial convergence is also required (Annexure 1). These guidelines have the aim to ensure not only the quality and efficacy to encourage the commercialization of nanotechnology-based innovations but also safety of novel products by emphasizing high benefit to low risk ratio compared to bulk counterparts.

There are no unanimously acceptable international guidelines for nano-agriproducts (NAPs). A few provisions that are in place globally for nanomaterials include REACH, EPA, AVMPA, OECD, and FAO/WHO with certain specific guidelines for quality, safety and efficacy. However, new innovations with alteration of functionality of nanosystems make it difficult to apply a universal set of evaluation parameters for different nanoproducts with different applications. Many a time the case-by-case basis evaluation approach is advocated for NAPs.

3. Scope of the guidelines

These guidelines apply to the following two categories of products:

    1. Agri-input products in the nano form of finished formulation as well as active ingredients of a new material (inorganic/organic/composite) or an already approved material (inorganic/organic/composite) with altered beneficial properties, dimensions or phenomenon associated with the application of nanotechnology that is intended to be used in agriculture and allied sectors for crop production, protection, management, harvesting, post-harvesting and packaging. The applications include and may not be restricted to pest/disease prevention, control and management, fertilizers, agrochemical delivery, plant nutrients, anti-transpiration agents, plant growth regulators and biostimulants for crop benefits.
    2. Agriproducts in the nano form of finished food formulation, finished feed formulations, nanocarriers for nutraceuticals delivery, nano processing aids, nanocomposites for food packaging and nanosensors for food packaging and food safety applications.

    These guidelines do not apply to the conventional products or formulations with incidental presence of natural nanomaterials. These guidelines also apply to sensors made from nanomaterials (as per the definition) and those that require direct contact with crops, food and feed for data acquisitions.

4. General considerations of the guidelines

The European Union along with Switzerland is the only part of the world where particular provisions to deal with nanoproducts are available in the legislation. In some countries, in the absence of specific regulations for nanoproducts, the existing legislative and regulatory frameworks (Annexure 2) also deal with nanoproducts, many a time with necessary adaptations to account for the specific properties of nanomaterials. In India, there are different government bodies and provisions that regulate different agriproducts. Since different NAPs are considered in the guidelines, their evaluation should be conducted as per the NAP type. However, in case any specific study is not included in the suggested regulatory framework, the principles of ICH guidelines for agriproducts or OECD guidelines for chemicals may be fol- lowed. This document may also serve as useful guidelines for manufacturers, importers of NAPs and other stakeholders involved in research and development of NAPs.

The following nano-agriinproducts are considered in these guidelines:

(i) Nanofertilizers (with or without nanocarriers): Safety, evaluation, functionality and other quality studies of nanofertilizers should be conducted under Fertilizer (Control) Order (FCO), 1985 with additional criteria for inclusion of nanofertilizers. FCO is administered by Department of Agriculture Cooperation, Government of India and issued under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, which lays down registration requirement for fertilizers.

(ii) Nanopesticides (with or without nanocarriers): Safety studies on chemistry, bio-efficacy and residues, toxicity, packaging and processing of molecules for registration for manufacture or import of nanopesticides should be conducted as per the regulatory aspect provisions under section 9(3) specified in the Insecticides Act, 1968 with additional criteria for inclusion of nanopesticides and plant growth regulators as per the guidelines of Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee under the Ministry of Agriculture (Insecticide Act, 1968).

The following nano-agriproducts are considered in the guidelines:



(i) Nanofood: The FDA guidelines (FDA, 2014a), (FDA, 2014b), (FDA, 2015) and Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 may be adopted by FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) to address NAPs and develop final guidelines for industry. In these guidelines, NAPs are classified according to their degradability, organicity, function, approvals and how they have been synthesized. Accordingly, the safety and efficacy data requirements are described.

This document may serve as useful guidelines for manufacturers, importers of NAPs and other stakeholders involved in research and development of NAPs. These guidelines are aligned with the provisions of REACH, OECD and FAO/WHO with certain specific aspects of quality, safety and efficacy applicable to nano-agriproducts. Specific scientific evidence is required for approval as per approaches for evaluation of such products that has been covered under this guideline. Each application should be considered on its own merit of the data submitted using scientific evaluation and valid justification.

(ii) Nanofeed: Safety, evaluation and other quality studies of nanofeed should be conducted under Cattle Feed (Regulation of manufacture and sale) Order, 2009 with additional criteria for inclusion of nanofeed.

5. Definition and categorization

5.1 Definition of nano-agriinproducts (NAIPs)

A NAIP is defined as an agricultural input preparation containing nanomaterials intended for external and internal applications (through soil, seed, foliar, and drip in crops as well as by other means) on crop for the purpose of agricultural farming.

NAIPs consist of materials with any of the three dimensions, that is, zero, one or two, on the nanoscale or with an internal or surface structure in the nanoscale. The nanomaterial is defined as a material that ranges in size from 1 to 100 nm at least in one dimension. However, if the particle size is >100 nm and <1000 nm, it may also fall within the definition, provided it has altered the agri-input product characteristics associated with the application of nanotechnology compared with active ingredient. The variations in definition of nanomaterials with respect to size in different countries and respective regulatory bodies are presented in Annexure 3.

5.2 Definition of nano-agriproducts (NAPs)

A NAP is defined as an agricultural preparation containing nanomaterials intended for consumption or applications in food/feed and their supplements as well as nutraceutical delivery. These are the products that contain materials with any of the dimensions (zero, one or two) falling under the size range of >100 nm and <1000 nm, provided the particle size has altered the agriproduct characteristics associated with the application of nanotechnology compared with the active ingredient.

5.3 Categorization of NAIPs

NAIPs could be categorized depending on the properties and functionalities of NMs and the existing products containing synthesized and engineered NMs. Complete categorization scheme of nanomaterials is given in Annexure 4. NAIPs could be categorized as follows:

(i) According to degradation nature of nanomaterial



  • Biodegradable: Biodegradable NMs are used frequently as nanocarrier systems and other agri-inputs due to their unique and useful properties. A few examples of biodegradable NMs are alginate, polyhydroxybutyrate, carrageenan, dextran, silk protein, micelles and emulsions (based on biodegradable surfactants/emulsifiers), PEG, albumin, PLA, PLGA, chitosan, gelatin, polycaprolactone, poly(alkyl cyanoacrylates) and nanoparticles of bioactives and nanoclay.
  • Nonbiodegradable: Nonbiodegradable NMs are also used in NAPs (more commonly used in controlled and slow released fertilizers). Some examples of non-biodegradable NMs include metal oxides, metal nanoparticles, nanocarbon allotropes, synthetic polymers (for seed and fertilizer coatings), quantum dots, boron and carbon nitrides.
  1. (ii)  According to chemical nature of NMs: NMs could also be categorized based in their chemical nature. They broadly fall under organic or inorganic categories. Besides their chemical nature, their properties at nanoscale also differ widely depending upon their method of synthesis and interaction with other atoms.
    • Organic: These are the NMs composed of organic compounds such as lipids, proteins and carbohydrates. They are primarily used in agriculture due to their low toxicity. Examples of organic NMs used in agriculture include synthetic nano-biochar, liposome, albumin, polymer–protein or polymer conjugates. The precursor materials used for synthesis of organic materials are generally considered to be non-toxic and biodegradable.
    • Inorganic: Inorganic NMs, owing to their high stability, simple synthesis methods using bottom-up approaches, and a wide range of tunable physicochemical properties such as shape, size, surface charge, surface area, crystallinity and composition, are a versatile choice for agri-inputs compared to organic NMs. The properties such as optical (absorption and fluorescence), electrical (conductivity and surface charge), magnetic and thermal can be easily tailored for a specific application requirement.
    • Composite NMs: These are the materials that contain mixture of several different categories of materials. They include all types of materials mentioned in the material categories list.
  2. (iii)  According to nano form of the ingredient
    • Nanocarriers loaded with active ingredient (AI): A nanocarrier is a soft and hard nanomaterial used as a carrier system for targeted agri-input NMs. Common examples include polymer conjugates, polymeric nanoparticles, carbon-based materials (carbon nanotubes, graphene, carbon NPs, nano-biochar), lipid-based carriers (liposomes, micelles), dendrimers, metallic nanoparticles, nanozeolites, metal oxide and so on. These also have the advantage of controlled and slow released delivery of agri-inputs.
    • Active ingredient converted to nano form: Active molecules/compounds could be converted into nano forms, thereby increasing their potential for improved stability and efficacy.
  3. (iv)  According to the synthesis

• Biologically synthesized NMs: Nanomaterials that are synthesized using bio-agents and their bio-actives. Examples include metallic NPs, bimetallic NPs, metal oxide NPs, quantum dots, nanoclusters and reduced graphene.



  • Chemically synthesized NMs: Nanomaterials that are synthesized using synthetic chemicals as reducing, oxidizing and template. Examples include metallic NPs, bi-metallic NPs, metal oxide NPs, quantum dots, nanoclusters, reduced graphene and molybdenum disulphide.
  • Physically synthesized NMs: Nanomaterials that are synthesized using physical processes such as ball milling, laser ablation, temperature and microwave assisted, ultrasonication, glow discharge, plasma, pulsed laser deposition and UV assisted. Examples include carbon nanotubes, graphene, metallic NPs, bi-metallic NPs, metal oxide NPs, quantum dots, nanoclusters, reduced graphene, molybdenum disulphide and nitrides.

6. Scientific rationale for manufacturing of NAIPs and NAPs

The rationale underlying manufacturing of NAIPs and NAPs should be demonstrated and specified with reference to their claimed advantage in comparison to conventional products. The NMs and their transformed waste disposal may have an adverse impact on the ecosystem. Therefore, the known and supposed adverse impacts on ecosystem should also be taken into consideration. The following aspects should be specifically addressed for justification of the use of NAIPs and NAPs:

  • The claim should be made on the basis of parameters that must include safety, efficacy, application modes and frequency, improved crop yield and productivity or any other benefit over conventional products.
  • Addressing any issue arising out of a significantly different mode of action and assimilation than that of the conventional products.
  • Addressing the issue of specific adverse effect/property associated with the conventional products, if any, such as soil and plant toxic effects.

7. Specific considerations for evaluation of NAIPs and NAPs in the context of Insecticide Act, FCO, BIS, and FSSAI.

These guidelines are developed in provisions of Insecticides Act, FCO, BIS and FSSAI, with specific requirements and adaptations for NAIPs and NAPs wherever considered necessary. While these provisions specify the general requirements and guidelines to manufacture or import new fertilizers (FCO), pesticides (Insecticide Act), food additives and preservatives (FSSAI) or to undertake quality checks, this document provides guidance on specific requirements for agri-input and agriproducts developed based on nanotechnology. General requirements as specified in these provisions will be applicable for any new products whether nanotechnology based or not. However, because of the involvement of interdisciplinary sciences and the complex nature of NAPs, a ‘case-by-case basis’ approach should be adopted for their evaluation with respect to enhanced efficacy and safety.

Considering the unique process conditions of nanoformulations compared to the conventional agri-input products and agriproducts, the product description should include detailed description methods of manufacturing process (excluding critical intellectual property information) and process controls to be included. The method of nanoparticle waste disposal and environmental impact may be declared.

‘Nanocomponents’ incorporated into some specific materials such as plastic, ceramic and regenerated cellulose films are subject to different kinds of regulations. The policy 2002/72/EC (14) implemented in Great Britain may be followed to regulate plastic and other food contact articles to deal with food contamination issues due to migration of lead and cadmium. European Regulation No. (EC) 1935/2004 may be followed to evaluate quality and safety of foodstuffs. The 12 principles of green chemistry proposed by EPA in 1991 may also provide guidance for engineering safe NAIP and NAPs. These include prevention, atom economy, less hazardous chemical syntheses, designing safer chemicals, safer solvents and auxiliaries, design for energy efficiency, use of renewable feedstocks, reduce derivatives, catalysis, design for degradation, real-time analysis for pollution prevention and inherently safer chemistry for accident prevention.

8. Excipients used in NAIPs and NAPs

Excipients help in the manufacture of formulations of NAIP and NAPs and improve performance and stability of the product. Examples of excipients in NAIPs and NAPs include stabilizers to prevent agglomeration and aggregation, preservatives to prevent microbial growth, surfactants and coupling agents to modify surface characteristics of nanomaterial.

9. Stability testing of NAIPs and NAPs

The general storage stability requirements and procedures for agricultural chemical products may also be applied on NAIPs and NAPs to ensure stability. The following four principal types of storage stability studies as per OECD TG 318, FAO/WHO, AVMPA may be adopted:

  1. (a)  Accelerated storage stability tests
  2. (b)  Ambient storage stability tests
  3. (c)  Low temperature storage stability tests
  4. (d)  Testing for reactivity towards container materials

The test parameters for stability testing of NAIPs and NAPs are also considered. The following test parameters (whichever is applicable) may be considered for each product. Relevant scientific argument should be provided to explain why to exclude any one of the following test parameters:

  1. (a)  Selection of containers
  2. (b)  Shelf-life statement
  3. (c)  Batch (laboratory-, pilot- or production-scale) and size of products
  4. (d)  Duration of storage stability
  5. (e)  Validation of analytical methods
  6. (f)  Technical characteristics (colour, odour, acidity or alkalinity and pH, wettability, suspensibility,

dispersion stability, dilution stability, particle size distribution, emulsifiability, re-emulsifiability, emulsion stability, viscosity, flowability, crystalline state, release kinetics and leakage).

(g) Microbial stability

10. Safety of manufactured NAIPs and NAPs

Depending upon the product type, application and exposure to humans and environment, the suitable in vitro methods for hazard assessment and effective regulation of NAIPs and NAPs should be adopted from the listed items. Each of the in vitro assays mentioned is based on existing OECD Testing Guidelines (TGs) for application to testing manufactured NMs (OECD, 2019):

Dermal exposure/toxicity: OECD TG 428 (in vitro); OECD TG 427 in vitro kin corrosion: OECD TG 431 Eye irritation: OECD TG 437
Genotoxicity: OECD TG 471, 473, 476, 482 and 487
Inhalation exposure (toxicity): OECD TG 403

Cytotoxicity assays used in the OECD testing programme: ATP CellTiter-Glo, neutral red uptake, LDH release, MTT, XTT, cell impedance, trypan blue, BrdU, Alamar Blue, WST-1, live/dead cell counting, colony forming efficiency, genotoxicity assays used in the OECD Testing Programme: Comet assay and DNA double-strands breaks


  1. (A)  Aquatic test: OECD TG 201 (freshwater algae, cyanobacteria and growth inhibition test), OECD TG 202(Daphnia sp. acute immobilization test), OECD TG 211 (Daphnia magna reproduction test)
  2. (B)  Soil and sediment test: OECD TG 222 (Earthworm reproduction test)
  3. (C)  Effect on soil microbiota OECD guidelines: OECD Method No. 216 and 217

11. Residue analysis (nanoactive ingredients, additives, and nanocarrier materials)

Information on the persistence of NAIPs and NAPs should be provided in the registration dossier and residues analysis of used nano active ingredients, additives, and nanocarrier materials needs to be performed during the life cycle of the product. Data on nanomaterial residue, presence of any nanosized degradation products in food/feed, excipients or surface coating used on food contact material need to be declared by the manufacturer during product registration. The report must mention the following details:

Method for determination (detection and quantitation limits) of residues from the used active ingredient, additive and nanocarrier
Quantities of generated residues and summary of anticipated risks of generated residues: The requirement for toxicological data, there is no migration of elements from food contact materials or the migrating species are not in the nanomaterial form (in which case standard risk assessment should apply)

Information required for evaluation of NAIPs

Nanopesticides (chemical and biological sources) and growth regulators are required to be registered under the existing Insecticides Act, 1968 and Rules 1972 through nodal agencies, namely, Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee. Likewise major fertilizers (chemical and biological sources) and micronutrients are required to be registered under the existing FCO, 1985 through the nodal agency Department of Fertilizers, Government of India and agriculture department of state governments. The food and feed products developed using nanotechnology interventions are required to be registered as per the guidelines by FSSAI. The nanotechnology intervention used in these products must be registered under the existing regulations. The additional data sets required for registration of nano-agriproducts based on the active ingredient and nanocarrier formulated products are as follows:

(A) Overview

  • A brief description of NAIPs
  • Intended use
  • Categoryo Nanofertilizers(e.g.,major,secondaryandmicronutrient)

o Nanopesticides (insecticide, fungicide, nematicides, acaricide and rodenticide)

  • Are there relevant source particles of NM analogues available of the similar chemical andphysical structure?
  • Justification for developing nanoproducts (claims)
  • Draft of label(B) Detailed Information


Information on the ingredients

Information on nanomaterials used (active ingredient/nanocarrier)
Used nanomaterials based on the method of production and composition Nanomaterials property characterization
Hydrodynamic particle size and distribution (polydispersion index)
Surface charge (using zeta potential)
Crystallinity (XRD)
Transmission electron microscopy (for shape, size and actual average particle size) Aspect ratio (only for 1D and 2D nanomaterials using TEM, SEM and FE-SEM) Hydrophilicity/lipophilicity using contact angle measurement
pH using pH meter
Viscosity (in case of liquid formulation using viscometer)
Electrical conductivity (in case of liquid formulation using conductivity meter) Organic (HPLC and GC data); inorganic (XRF and ICP-MS data)
FTIR spectrum
X-ray diffraction chromatogram

Stability data (as per OECD 318 TG) Impurities detail

Quality control checks parameters and test protocols Sampling procedure and preparation for specific analysis Testing protocol/s
Certificate of analysis

Preliminary toxicity analysis data (confirmatory toxicity analysis would be performed by CIB)

b. c. d.


Cytotoxicity: ATP Cell Titer-Glo, neutral red uptake, LDH release, MTT, XTT, cell impedance, trypan blue, BrdU, Alamar Blue, WST-1, live/dead cell counting, colony forming efficiency Genotoxicity: OECD TG 471, 473, 476, 482 and 487

  1. Comparative field efficacy data (bulk versus NAIPs) and residue report (as per section 9(3) of the Insecticides Act, 1968; for herbicide, data to be generated for two seasons and three locations and for others, data to be generated for one season and four locations).
  2. Occupational hazard, exposure and fate assessment

Decision framework (OECD, ENV/JM/MONO(2019)12) for inclusion of physico-chemical parameters for exposure and fate assessment of nanofertilizers and nanopesticides may be followed.

13. Nano agriproducts: nanofood and nanofeed products (suggested for inclusion in the existing regulatory act by FSSAI)

In addition to the information mentioned in Section 12, the information discussed next will also be required for NAPs.

13.1 Exposure risk

NM exposure measurement is essential for hazard characterization and risk assessment. Migration of NMs or its degraded products in non-nano form (its type and quantity) from agri produce or via animals for food production or from food contact materials (like packaging) should be considered in exposure measurement and hazard characterization and ADME studies are required. Specific testing protocols for analysis of migrated products are required. Food sampling, variability in composite sampling and concentration variations between samples are critical sampling issues in exposure evaluation. The decision framework defined by OECD (ENV/JM/MONO (2019)12) may be followed for inclusion of physico-chemical parameters for exposure and fate assessment of nanofertilizer, nanopesticide and NMs in food. Guidance on risk assessment of the application of nanoscience and nanotechnologies in the food and feed chain (EFSA, 2018) may also be followed.

13.2 Hazard characterization

Hazard identification and characterization require appropriate in vitro and in vivo studies to determine the fate of NMs. Toxicity testing should be customized for case of exposure.

1. In case of the non-stable NMs in food preparation/formulation: For example, when NMs are completely degraded/solubilized/transformed to their non-nano form in food matrices, general protocol for toxicity measurement of non-nano form in the intended application can be considered. But strong scientific evidence should be produced demonstrating its solubility. This criterion applies to non-persistent NMs in marketed foods and foods where nano form transforms to non-nano form before injection.

2. NMs that get transformed during digestion: For NMs that get completely degraded/dissolved in gastrointestinal tract and where there is no possibility of their absorption in nano state, the hazard characterization can be relaxed and can rely only on data for non-nano form. This scenario should be strongly supported by in vitro genotoxicity and in vivo testing for local effects and other in vivo tests. When regulations on non-nano form are not available, FSSAI has to come up with regulations.

3. Stable nano materials: For the nanomaterials that are stable in food formulations/agri produces and

in gastrointestinal tract, two scenarios considered:

  1. When characteristics and toxicity of non-nano form of NMs used are known through toxicity testing and ADME (repeated-dose 90-day oral toxicity) and genotoxicity studies of two forms can identify the major difference between them. If the difference is identified, more stringent toxicity testing and ADME testing should be considered. In case of less hazard NMs, further testing can be relaxed upon strong scientific evidence.
  2. When hazard characteristic of its non-nano form is NOT available through toxicity testing and ADME studies are required for nanomaterial hazard characterization and regulations.

4. Migration of food contact materials: When there is no migration from FCM ,toxicological concerns are negligible. If not, stringent toxicity studies need to be enforced.

The following types of toxicity testings are required for NMs (EFSA Scientific Committee, 2011):

I. In vitro studies: They help to understand biological responses of NMs and underlying mechanism for toxicity screening. However, suitability of test system and possible structural and functional changes arising from interaction of NMs with culture medium should be considered.

  1. In vitro digestion studies: Physiochemical and mechanical conditions of the human gastrointestinal tract can be simulated to understand dissolution and degradation of NMs during digestion. This leads to limited or no further studies for hazard analyses. There are many in vitro digestion models available, notably dynamic gastrointestinal digestion system (present in Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) under MoFPI) (Parthasarathi et al., 2018; The Hindu science, 2018), Dynamic Gastric Model Institute of Food Research (Norwich, UK) (Thuenemann et al., 2015), Model Stomach system (Kong & Singh, 2008), Human Gastric simulator (UC Davis, Food Science and Technology) (Kong and Singh, 2010), TIM-1 (Netherlands) (Minekus, 2015), SHIME (ProDigest and Ghent University, Belgium) (Van de Wiele et al., 2015) and Dynamic in-vitro human stomach, China (Wang et al., 2019). They help to understand the digestibility and release behaviour of ingested food components and thus fate of added NMs.
  2. In vitro genotoxicity testing: Use of bacterial reverse mutation assay cannot be considered for detection of genotoxicity of NMs due to the fact that bacterial cells do not phagocytose particles like mammalian cells and NMs cannot penetrate bacterial cell wall (Landsiedel et al., 2009). Studies such as OECD TG 476 for induction of gene mutations in mammalian cells (preferably the mouse lymphoma TK assay with colony sizing) and OECD test guideline 487 for an in vitro micronucleus assay should be considered for evaluating NMs in food.
  3. Other in vitro studies: This includes various in vitro models to assess the effects of NM on permeability/integrity of the gastrointestinal barrier, inflammatory responses to assess gut maintenance, immune cells and immune responses etc. Cells, like differentiated CaCo-2 cells, primary human oesophageal epithelial cells and M-cells (modified enterocytes present throughout the epithelial lining) are used to simulate the in vivo conditions.13

II. In vivo studies: In vivo studies are essential to identify ADME profile, adverse responses and dose- dependent toxicity. Forms of administration of NMs (e.g., adding to feed, water or by gavage) for in vivo studies also influence the toxicity profiling. For example, NMs that interact with food and form complex matrices, simulant cannot be used and it should be homogeneously blended in food.

  1. ADME studies: Absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) studies are essential for toxicity evaluation of nanomaterials. Appropriate measuring systems should be adopted to detect nanomaterials in organs, tissues or biological fluids. Labelling with radioactive isotopes, fluorescent dyes and comprehensive mass balance studies are to deal with nanomaterial polydispersity, and toxicokinetic changes upon repeated administration should be considered while designing ADME studies. Simple ICP-Ms cannot determine the presence of nanomaterials.
  2. In vivo repeated-dose 90-day oral toxicity study: Repeated-dose 90-day oral toxicity study in rodents as per the OECD TG 408 is required to access orally ingested NMs. Emphasis on assessment of cardiovascular and inflammatory parameters, endocrine-related endpoints and oestrous cycles is required during oral toxicity studies.
  3. In vivo genotoxicity testing: If genotoxicity is observed in any of the in vitro studies, or when it is impossible to conduct in vitro studies for selected NMs, any of the following in vivo tests may be adopted: in vivo micronucleus test (OECD TG 474), in vivo comet assay and transgenic rodent gene mutation assay.
  4. Other in vivo toxicity tests: If there is evidence of toxic effects and accumulation of NMs (or degradation of products/metabolites) in organs and tissues, chronic toxicity by following OECD TG 453 may be appropriate in order to reveal progressive toxic effects or delayed toxicity and developmental toxicity and to identify a BMDL or a NOAEL.

OECD test guidelines 414, 415 and 416 may be adopted for study design of reproduction and developmental studies.

13.4. Uncertainty analysis

Analysing possibility of uncertainty in assessing the above-mentioned assessments. Some of the possible reasons for uncertainty in assessing ENM are as follows:

  • Non-availability of standard methods for physico-chemical characterisation of various ENM structures and associated properties
  • Sample preparation procedures and calibration of the analytical equipment dictate characterisation accuracy
  • Differences in the physical principles applied by various measurement techniques
  • Aggregation/agglomeration behaviour of ENM and other factors such as dilutions or dispersionsvary with their interaction with various environmental factorsReduced information can be provided when no exposure to NMs is confirmed by data indicating no migration from food contact materials or when complete degradation/dissolution is demonstrated with no absorption of engineered nanomaterials as such (EFSA Scientific Committee, 2011; Leena et al., 2019).

14. Conclusions

Hundreds of NAIPs and NAPs using nanotechnology are already on the market even though there are no specific policies regulations for their control. Therefore, there is a need to develop the policy and regulations in place.

15. References

  1. AVMPA (Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority) 2005, “Guidelines for the Generation of Storage Stability Data of Agricultural Chemical Products,” Kingston ACT Australia 2604, December 2005.
  2. Commission Directive 2002/72/EC relating to plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs.
  3. ECHA’s Guidance on information requirements: Guidance on regulation (EU) 528/2012 concerning the making available on the market and use of biocidal products (BPR)Version 1.0 July 2013:( equirements_en.pdf)
  4. EFSA (European Food safety Authority). 2009. Scientific opinion of the Scientific Committee on a request from the European Commission on the potential risks arising from nanoscience and nanotechnologies on food and feed safety. EFSAJournal, 958: 1–39 (, accessed 25 October 2011).
  5. EFSA Scientific Committee. (2011). Scientific opinion on guidance on the risk assessment of the application of nanoscience and nanotechnologies in the food and feed chain. EFSA Journal, 9(5), 2140.
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  • We make auto repair and maintenance more convenient for you
  • We are a friendly, helpful and professional group of people
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