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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1986;23(4):289-321.

Food applications and the toxicological and nutritional implications of amorphous silicon dioxide.


The chemical and physical characteristics of the different types of amorphous silicon dioxide contribute to the versatility of these compounds in a variety of commercial applications. Traditionally, silicas have had a broad spectra of product usage including such areas as viscosity control agents in inks, paints, corrosion-resistant coatings, etc. and as excipients in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. In the food industry, the most important application has been as an anticaking agent in powdered mixes, seasonings, and coffee whiteners. However, amorphous silica has multifunctional properties that would allow it to act as a viscosity control agent, emulsion stabilizer, suspension and dispersion agent, desiccant, etc. The utilization of silicas in these potential applications, however, has not been undertaken, partially because of the limited knowledge of their physiochemical interactions with other food components and partially due to their controversial status from a toxicological point of view. The main goal of this review is to compile current information on the incorporation of amorphous silicon dioxide as a highly functional and viable additive in the food processing industry as well as to discuss the most recent toxicological investigations of silica in an attempt to present some of the potential food applications and their concomitant toxicological implications. Some of the more significant differences between various silicas and their surface chemistries are presented to elucidate some of their mechanisms of interaction with food components and other biological systems and to aid in the prediction of their rheological or toxicological behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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