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2nd newsletter


ISO-FOOD newsletter 2nd

Welcome to the second ISO-FOOD newsletter.


Welcome to the second ISOFOOD newsletter. This newsletter is intended to keep you informed about all that is current within the project and up and coming events. Since our first newsletter the work of ISOFOOD has been progressing well.

Our group has continued to expand and we would like to congratulate Dr Martina Lorenzetti and Dr Kelly Peeters who have joined ISO-FOOD to carry out postdoctoral positions. Dr Lorenzetti with Prof Saša Novak Krmpotič will, within the Department for Nanostructured Materials, begin to research nanoparticles (NPs) as food contaminants, specifically titanium dioxide (TiO2) and silicon dioxide (SiO2) in products in daily use (e.g. chewing gums and food colorants). Different methods for NPs extraction from the original matrix will be exploited and samples will be physico-chemically characterised both under dry and wet conditions. The study of their material properties will be used as a milestone for further studies of cytotoxicity and risk assessment. Dr Kelly Peeters will be studying speciation of important elements in food in the Department of Environmental Sciences.

Reflections on Conferences

European Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry in Muenster
The role of nanotechnology in food has been growing increasingly over the past few years. Nanoparticles can enter the food chain in a variety of ways (through food additives, food processing or packaging), which may potentially affect human health. Therefore, research on how to detect and characterize the nanoparticles in complex matrices, such as food, are necessary.
To follow the fate and behaviour of nanoparticles in the environmental and biological samples, the Inorganic Environmental Analytical Chemistry Group at the Jožef Stefan Institute are optimizing the method of single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (SP-ICP-MS) a new approach for the quantification and sizing of titanium dioxide nanoparticles. The advantages of this SP-ICP-MS technique are minimal sample treatment during analytical procedure, which makes it possible to maintain the original NPs properties, its superior sensitivity (ng L-1) and element specificity that can overcome many of the problems associated with complex matrices (e.g., food) containing background levels of natural particles, as well as the simultaneous characterization of analytes in nanosize and dissolved form. The work was presented at the European Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry, which took place in February 22-26 2015 in Muenster, Germany. At the conference, which was focused on the major topics in analytical methodologies using plasma sources, the topic of nanomaterial analysis in various matrices was the most widely represented.

Janja Vidmar, Young researcher at Dept of Environmental Sciences

1st International Conference on Food Contaminants in Lisbon
The International Conference on Food Contaminants: challenges in chemical mixtures (ICFC 2015) was organized by the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge I.P. and held in Lisbon (Portugal) on April 13-14 2015. This multidisciplinary conference provided an interesting forum for both internationally established and young researchers to exchange advanced knowledge on Food Contaminants and Human Health. State-of-the-art developments in different fields of chemical mixtures: analytical, exposure assessment, bioavailability and toxicity of food contaminants were covered during the presentations. Assist Prof Barbara Koroušić Seljak, from the Computer Systems Department, was invited to give a keynote lecture on the Open Platform for Clinical Nutrition and presented also ISO-FOOD.

B Koroušič Seljak, Assist Prof at Computer Systems Dept

Food Integrity: Assuring the integrity of the food chain
ISO-FOOD was present at the 2nd Food Integrity conference: Assuring the integrity of the food chain: food authenticity research priorities and funding opportunities in Bilbao Spain, 26-27 March 2015. The meeting, held in the Euskalduna Conference Centre located next door to the world famous Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry. The talks and workshops were aimed at researchers and funding bodies and presented the latest research outputs from the European Food Integrity project and the opportunities that exist for funding for food research in 2015 including H2020 priorities in the food sector.
ISO-FOOD presented two posters entitled: “Characterization of Slovenian milk and dairy products using elemental composition and stable isotopes” and “Determination of geographical origin and authenticity of olive oil using stable isotope approach”. These showcased the research work of students, under the mentorship of Prof Ogrinc, looking at the use of stable isotopes in determining the authenticity and geographical origin of important food products.
Conference highlights included a talk by Peter Whelan of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland about the fight against food crime and an Industry perspective from John O’Brien leader of the Nestle Food Safety and Integrity Research programme and Deputy Head of the Nestle Research Centre in Lausanne. The meeting provided the perfect opportunity to meet several of the key players from both academia and industry involved in the use of isotopic techniques, including Prof Federica Camin and Prof Andreas Rossmann, which hopefully will result in closer ties and possible future collaborations between their organisations and ISO-FOOD.

Prof Nives Ogrinc & Dr David Heath

Presentation at the Chamber of Commerce
Prof Ogrinc had an invited talk on April 24th, 2015 at the “Great Food Spring Seminar, Legislation and Trends” organized by the Chamber of Commerce. She presented the ISO-FOOD project and the use of stable isotopes for food authenticity and traceability to the stakeholders from agro-food industry.

Our students about ISO-FOOD

Anja Mahne Opatič

I come from Gorenje, a small village near Sežana and I commute from Gorenje to Ljubljana daily. I have got two small children and although it is sometimes hard to coordinate family life and work, I don’t regret having chosen to combine family life and study – it has been going well so far.
My background is Food Technology and Nutrition at the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, and I also passed some extra exams in microbiology. Currently I’m a doctoral student at the J. Stefan International Postgraduate School – Ecotechnology programme. My PhD topic is the translation of isotopic fingerprints of soil, water and fertilizers into different sorts of vegetables under different agricultural practices. Preliminary tests have been done on lettuce (Lactucasativa L.), sweet pepper (Capsicumannuum L.) and tomato (Solanumlycopersicum L.) where the bulk N and C stable isotope fingerprints were tested so far. To better differentiate the production practices, further elemental and isotopic analyses will be carried out (O isotope composition in plant water, O and N in plant nitrate, analysis of major and trace elements including rare earth element profiles. The first pot experiments have also been started. The study will be carried out in collaboration with the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana.

Eva Kranjc

Any Slovenian person would easily be able to determine from my name that I have roots in this country. What is not so obvious is that I was born, raised, and educated in the United States (Illinois, Michigan, and Rhode Island). Prior to starting my doctoral studies at the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School, I majored in Environmental Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and I completed a post-baccalaureate, pre-medical program at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. These two programs provided me with the ideal background for my current project monitoring and assessing how current food production and processing practices contribute to the inadvertent inorganic nanoparticle content of food. Much of my work in this first year has consisted of learning to use and apply a variety of methods and techniques for the detection, counting, and characterization of nanoparticles. Preliminary results from factory measurements and independent experimental work suggest that I can expect to find very large nanoparticle concentrations in air within food processing locations as well as distance-dependent effects on nanoparticle distributions and number concentrations. As the start of the second year approaches, I look forward to applying my new-found knowledge in the field.

Tome Eftimov

I am from Strumica, the largest city in eastern Republic of Macedonia. When I got the PhD position I came to live in Ljubljana, it was the first time I had visited Slovenia and it was love at first sight.
My background is in Computer Science. I finished Informatics and Computer Engineering at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies, Ss. Cyril and Methodius – University, Skopje, where I also finished my MSc degree in Computer Networks and e-Technologies. My research areas include statistics, data mining and machine learning, text mining and the semantic web. Currently I am a PhD student at the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School – ICT programme. My work is related to the extraction of knowledge on evidence–based nutritional recommendations. Because these are presented by natural language, I use text and data mining and semantic web approaches to capture dietary reference intakes of nutrients from scientific publications and to provide the missing values in the food composition databases used to calculate nutritional properties of recipes. With this, my aim is to provide support for exchange of research information that is very important and can be used in decision support systems, which can predict, in real time, adverse effects before they happen.
ISO-FOOD is already planning for a busy autumn with our 1st international stakeholder one-day workshop that is scheduled at the end of November to coincide with the opening of the new Mass Spectrometry Centre at the Jožef Stefan Institute. The new centre will house the latest state-of-the-art Mass spectrometric instrumentation, which will play a key role in the future of ISO-FOOD research activities. The centre will boast new instruments including a Multi-collector ICP-MS, the only one of its kind in Slovenia.

1st one day International stakeholder meeting

Representatives of business, academia, governmental organisations and NGOs are invited to present their views on the food quality and traceability issues, and become engaged in a stimulating discussion on the emerging topics in food research, generating ideas and initiating collaborations.
The key conclusions of the workshop will be published through a post-workshop press release.
For more information please contact us via our website.

First training course

ISO-FOOD, in collaboration with TrainMIC®, will also hold a training course “Quality assurance for Hg measurements in food and environmental samples” (25th – 27th Nov 2015). The course is designed for early-stage researchers (doc and post-doc level) and application scientists from i.e., from the National Reference Laboratories and the Official Control Laboratories from the EU network on “heavy metals” in food and feed. The course will provide the skills necessary to produce quality assured data and will cover the following topics: traceability and use of RM (reference materials), a CRM (certified reference materials), single laboratory validation, internal quality control, inter-laboratory comparisons and the evaluation of measurement uncertainty. Details of the course are on our website.

EXPO forum

The “World Food research and innovation Forum” is a standing platform in the field of food research and food safety, which was created and developed by the Italian Emilia Romagna region in collaboration with ASTER (consortium for Innovation and Technology transfer in Emilia Romagna) in 2014. The platform is meant to have a broad echo by involving experts from European and international institutions, governments, the research community, the agricultural community, and food-related industry partners. The aim is to establish discussions and relationships in order to discuss and determine strategies for the development and sustainability of the agrifood sector and the food safety, focusing on the problem of how to feed the planet in the near future. The Forum programme organises satellite events for its promotion and disclosure, but it will culminate with its event hosted at EXPO2015 in Milan on September the 22nd and 23rd, during which two main themes will be addressed, i.e. the World Food Safety and Security Forum and the World Food Research and Technology Forum.
For more info and subscriptions to the event, please visit: http://worldfoodforum.eu/

Dr James Gillies talked about effective science communication

Effective science communication is important especially when discussing food safety where people require accurate and balanced information upon which to base important nutritional decisions. Through effective communication scientists can help counter the misinformation and misconceptions which clutter public debate especially when it comes to eating healthily. In April Dr James Gillies, Head of communications from CERN, visited the Jožef Stefan Institute and gave an interesting lecture with the title “Communicating CERN – what we do and why it matters”. The lecture was sponsored by ISO-FOOD and organised by Prof Novak
Krmpotič through the JSI colloquium.
Within the scope of his visit, Dr Gillies attended a meeting with ISO-FOOD members and gave some fruitful suggestions on how to communicate the topic of “food safety” to the general public.
Dr Gillies gave an interview for the newspaper DELO in which he answered also some provocative questions of the journalist Lenart J. Kučić. Also, he was a guest of the Radio Val202 program – Frekvenca X, where he discussed on how CERN scientists have succeeded to turn the demanding “Cern” physics into a hot media topic.

Science on the Street

Communicating science was also our aim when Prof Ogrinc presented her research entitled “Safety and traceability of food on the Slovenian market” at Science on the Street. i.e., a regular event organised by SATENA.
The event is aimed at connecting inspiring researchers and innovators with public audiences to share their love of science.
Prof Ogrinc spoke at length to a capacity crowd about the scientific approaches to determining the origin of food stuffs.

Stefan’s days

Stefan’s days is the annual event that mark the birthday of Jožef Stefan (March 25th 1835) the most famous Slovenian physicist. Over a period of one week, high-level scientific and cultural meetings are combined with Open days at the Institute.
This year ISO-FOOD promoted its work thanks in large part to the efforts of our students.


ERA Chair holder
Dr David Heath
Phone: (+386 1) 4773194
Project Coordinator
Prof Milena Horvat
Phone: (+386 1) 5885389
Project officer
Vanja Usenik
Phone: (+386 1) 4773746

ISO-FOOD ERA Chair for isotope techniques in food quality safety, and traceability is a FP7 project funded by the EC under Contract No. 621329 (2014–19).

Foto: Shutterstock; TIC Ljubljana, Stane Jeršič; Marjan Verč, JSI

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ERA Chair · Jamova 39 · Ljubljana 1000 · Slovenia