• en
  • sl

3rd newsletter


ISO-FOOD newsletter 3rd

Welcome to the third ISO-FOOD newsletter.


Welcome to the third ISO-FOOD newsletter, which provides an update of the work of the ERA Chair ISO-FOOD. Since the publication of our last newsletter, the work of ISO-FOOD has continued to gather pace with the conclusion of several major milestones. In this edition we report on our various activities including our first stakeholder workshop, first training session on metrology, and ISO-FOOD’s role in the new EU project MASSTWIN–Spreading excellence and widening participation in support of mass spectrometry and related techniques in Health, the Environment, and Food Analysis. We also report on our other various activities and present you with all the news and details of future events. We hope you find these newsletters useful and informative, and if you have any questions or comments please contact us at http://isofood.eu/.

Stakeholder engagement

One of the major events for ISO-FOOD was the first stakeholder workshop held in November entitled “Recent Advances in Mass Spectrometry in Food, Environment and Health”. The event attracted over sixty individuals representing government agencies, NGOs, and academia. The workshop provided our stakeholders with the opportunity to share their views on how they see the role of research groups like ISO-FOOD in formulating policy and advancing state-of-the-art methods and techniques in food research. The workshop was held over one day in two parts. The morning session included speakers from government, industry and academia who discussed their role in terms of food safety with each representative setting out their needs and perspectives on how the many different stakeholders involved in this field can best work together. The focus of the second session was to present current state-of-the-art methods and techniques in food research with an emphasis on mass spectrometry and isotopic methods for food safety, traceability, and authenticity. Making this event especially meaningful was the fact that it coincided with the opening of the Department of Environmental Sciences’ new research facility, which will play a major role in further promoting the future of the ERA Chair. The whole event provided great opportunities for networking and for ISO-FOOD to demonstrate our potential for undertaking advanced, cutting-edge research. The full report from the stakeholder meeting is available on our website: www.isofood.eu.

New infrastructure at the Department of Environmental Sciences for the benefit of ISO-FOOD

Within a project co-funded by the EU Structural Funds, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, and the Jožef Stefan Institute, a new research facility of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Reactor Centre in Podgorica has been built, enabling the reconstruction of more than 1100 m2 of laboratory space, which now represents the core of the department’s Mass Spectrometry Centre. The analytical infrastructure was upgraded with several new instruments, which are already enabling ISO-FOOD students and researchers to conduct leading research in the areas of food composition, traceability and authenticity using mass spectrometry and radioactivity measurements. Pieces of new analytical equipment include: a multicollector ICP – mass spectrometer for isotope analysis of so-called “non-traditional” stable isotopes (e.g. Hg, Sr, Fe, Pb), a LC-Qtrap liquid chromatograph coupled to a hybrid mass spectrometer for the analysis of polar organic compounds, a laser ablation unit attached to a QQQ mass spectrometer for elemental microanalysis and mapping, an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) with an elemental analyser and pyrolysis unit for stable isotope analysis of light elements, and a liquid scintillation spectrometer for the determination of alpha and beta emitters. More information can be found in (Slovene) interview with the head of the department, Prof. Milena Horvat and in our latest brochure available on the website.

The MASSTWIN project started

January 1, 2016 marked the beginning of the Horizon 2020 twinning project MASSTWIN – spreading excellence and widening participation in support of mass spectrometry and related techniques in health, the environment and food analysis. Participation in this project brings greater opportunities to establish a community of practice in the domain of advanced mass spectrometric and related techniques applied to health, food and the environment. It will also complement the ISO-FOOD networking programme by providing group training and individual hands-on experience in the use of advanced instruments to ISO-FOOD researchers. The aim of this collaboration in the field of food analysis will be to bridge the knowledge gaps in our understanding of migration of non-intentionally added substances (for example, toxic elements, organic compounds, and nanoparticles) and their bio-transformations, analytical procedures for quantification and sizing nanoparticles, compound-specific isotope analysis of relevant groups of compounds (e.g. lipids, proteins), stable isotope analysis of elements such as Hg, Sr and Pb, and the identification of biomarkers for food traceability. The international partners of the project are, beside the J. Stefan Institute as the coordinator, the Edmund Mach Foundation (Italy), University of Pau and Pays d’Adour (France), the National Institute for Agronomic Research (Spain), the University of Antwerp (Belgium) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Germany).

Training course: “Quality assurance for Hg measurements in food and environmental samples” at the Jožef Stefan Institute

November 25-27, 2015, the ERA Chair ISO-FOOD held its first training course entitled “Quality assurance for Hg measurements in food and environmental samples” at the Jožef Stefan Institute, Reactor centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia. The training course provided participants with the knowledge to produce quality assured data based on metrological principles. The meeting consisted of lectures, exercises and practical demonstrations. The course, organised and funded by ISO-FOOD, was designed for early stage researchers (doctoral and postdoctoral level) and application scientists from National Laboratories. Our workshop attracted participants from EU and Non-EU countries, including Albania, Belgium, China, Croatia, Germany, Ghana, Iceland, Italy, Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Spain. Thirty-four participants in totals participated, reflecting the interest in Hg as a contaminant and metrology in general. The participants ranged from doctoral students, researchers, and professionals in service providing laboratories. The workshop was organized and funded by the ERA Chair ISO-FOOD and was hosted by the Department of Environmental Sciences, Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Participants from China and Serbia were additionally sponsored by bilateral agreements between the countries and funded by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) project funds.

UNEP/WHO Training workshop on monitoring human exposure to mercury

Mercury in biological matrices was also the theme of the UNEP/WHO project “Development of a Plan for Global Monitoring of Human Exposure to and Environmental Concentrations of Mercury” hosted by the Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia, with the participation of experts from the Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain and RECETOX, Brno, Czech Republic. The training workshop consisted of a two-day long joint sessions for national coordinators and laboratory analysts, followed by three more days of a dedicated training. Twenty-five participants representing ten different countries participated in the workshop. Prof. Horvat, one of the workshop coordinators, used this opportunity to promote the work of ISO-FOOD.

ISO-FOOD work presented

ISSS 2015, 21st International Symposium on Separation Sciences
ISO-FOOD also participated in the 21st International Symposium on Separation Sciences from June 30 to July 3 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The symposium is one of the major calendar events in the field of separation sciences, a topic fundamental to food sciences. The symposium was an ideal opportunity not only to present the work of ISO-FOOD and to network with those working in chromatography and mass spectrometry but also to learn about the latest analytical developments and innovations. Although The ISSS is a general symposium there were a significant number of contributions regarding food related research. During the conference Dr Heath presented a post entitled: “Determination of Bisphenol A and its Analogues in Honey” – a collaborative work by Maria Laimou-Geraniou, David Heath, Tina Kosjek, Dušan Žigon, Marjeta Česen, Dimitra Lambropoulou, and Ester Heath, and met several of the key players in this field both internationally and from here in Slovenia, which hopefully will result in closer ties and possible future collaborations with their organisations and the ISO-FOOD ERA Chair.

RAFA 2015, 7th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Food Analysis
Dr David Heath attended the 7th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Food Analysis RAFA 2015, in Prague, Czech Republic. The symposium is one of the major events in the field of food analysis. The symposium covers all topics possible in food analysis and pays particular attention to Mass spectrometry techniques. This year RAFA also held a separate session on nanoparticles in food, which is of special interest to ISO-FOOD. At the symposium Dr. Heath presented a poster entitled: “Determination of Bisphenols in Honey” – a collaborative work by Marjeta Česen, Maria Laimou-Geraniou, Urška Blaznik, Dimitra Lambropoulou, Ester Heath, and David Heath.

ESIR Isotope Workshop XIII
Anja Mahne Opatić, an ISO-FOOD PhD student, presented results from the first year of her studies on the use of stable isotopes and metal concentrations for discrimination between conventional, hydroponic, and organic vegetable production regimes at the European Society for Isotope Research (ESIR) Isotope Workshop XIII in Zadar, Croatia, which took place September 20-24, 2015. ESIR is an association of scientists engaged in isotope research, which primarily engages researchers from Eastern and Central European countries, but is now open to all interested parties from around the world.

Cutting Edge 2015
Anja Drame, one of the ISO-FOOD Masters’ students, presented the poster “Extraction and Characterization of TiO2 Nanoparticles in Chewing Gums” at the Cutting Edge Conference 2015 (UL FKKT, Ljubljana, 22.9.2015). The purpose of this work was to verify if chewing gums available on the Slovenian market contain nano-sized TiO2 and further, to characterize the physico-chemical properties of such particles isolated from chewing gums.

Information society 2015
Tome Eftimov, an ISO-FOOD PhD student, presented the paper “Ingredients matching in bakery products” at the Data Mining and Data Warehouses (SiKDD) Conference, which is a part of the IS 2015 multiconference (IJS, from 28. September to 14. October, 2015). The purpose of this work was to find the analytical results of ingredients matching in bakery products represented with association rules.

EFSA’s 2nd Scientific Conference
Dr. Martina Lorenzetti, one of the ISO-FOOD postdocs, attended EFSA’s Second Scientific Conference “Shaping the Future of Food Safety, Together”, which took place in Milan (Italy) October 14-16, 2015. The conference mainly focused on current issues about food safety in connection to medical issues (i.e. cardiovascular diseases and diabetes) and toxicology. The submitted abstract was selected as part of the “Young Researchers contest” for a scholarship prize, and the poster contribution entitled “E171 as ingredient for cake decorations: physico-chemical characterisation of titania (nano)particles” was presented.

KDIR 2015, 7th International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Information Retrieval
Tome Eftimov, the ISO-FOOD PhD student, attended the 7st International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Information Retrieval (KDIR 2015), in Lisbon, Portugal, which took place November 12-14, 2015. Tome presented a paper entitled: “POS tagging-probability weighted method for matching the Internet recipe ingredients with food composition data”, a collaborative work by Assist. Prof. Dr. Barbara Koroušić Seljak. The purpose of this work was to match recipe ingredients extracted from the Internet to nutritional data from food composition databases.

Brussels ERA Chair meeting

In December Prof. Horvat and Dr. Heath travelled to Brussels where they attended a meeting (8 to 9 December 2015) of the ERA Chair project coordinators and Chair holders organised by the European Commission Directorate-General for Research & Innovation. The meeting was to discuss the first lessons learned by ERA Chair project coordinators and Chair holders, and share best practices with the new coordinators of the Horizon 2020 ERA Chair projects. The results of the meeting will be used by the European Commission as a basis for potential fine tuning of the ERA Chair programme. The meeting was a great opportunity to meet other ERA Chairs, network, gauge our progress relative to the other ERA Chairs, and to develop new ideas for ISO-FOOD.

ERAChair presented its work

In October Dr Heath presented the work of the ERA Chair to a delegation from the Food and Veterinary Agency of the Republic of Slovenia and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food regarding experiences dealing with consumer protection and food safety. The meeting was organised by the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food).

ISO-FOOD hosted Erasmus students

Two students Maria Laimou-Geraniou and Marianthi Sykiotou, both degree project students at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece (supervisor dr. Dimitra Lambropoulou) came to the Departments of Environmental Sciences and joined ISO-FOOD as Erasmus exchange students for three to six months. During their visit they worked on the development of gas chromatographic methods for the determination of organic contaminants in food.

ISO-FOOD broadcasts on HEVREKA Radio Trst A

In November Nives Ogrinc had an interview broadcast on HEVREKA Radio Trst A, which was presented on Monday, November 23, 2015. The presentation was related to the use of stable isotopes in determining the authenticity and traceability of food as well as an opportunity to discuss the ISO-FOOD ERA Chair project.

ISO-FOOD presented at EFSA expert meeting

Nives Ogrinc presented the ERA Chair ISO-FOOD project at the EFSA expert meeting on “Challenges of communication about food safety held in November 26 in Ljubljana. Besides domestic experts in food research, representatives of the European Food Safety Authority, the Ministries of Agriculture from Finland and Austria, and the Agency for Safety Authority of Ireland provided information about their experiences and approaches related to food safety and quality.

The first expert meeting of “Food for Life”

In January 12, 2016 Nives Ogrinc attended the first expert meeting of the EU Technological Platform (ETP) “Food for Life” in Brussels. She joined one of the new ETP Scientific Working Groups entitled “Food safety and quality”. The aim of the ETP is to step change the innovation power and impact of the European food industry to the benefit of a sustainable society. For this purpose and in order to deliver a high-class scientific programme, the ETP relies on the expertise of the working groups to generate the ideas necessary to shape the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) and its Implementation Plan. The results will feed into the ongoing discussion on the strategic programming of Horizon 2020 and other relevant research programmes.

Researchers Night

In September (25, 2015) ISO-FOOD had its own stall at the “European Researchers Night”, which is a mega event that takes place every year simultaneously in several hundred cities all over Europe. It is a special event to enhance public recognition of researchers and their work and is designed to appeal to all people of all ages. The events are supported by the European Commission as part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, popular science events. This latest event marked the tenth anniversary of European Researchers’ Night. ISO-FOOD’s students answered questions about our group and presented their research through a series of specially designed experiments and demonstrations, giving visitors a chance to get actively involved.

ISO-FOOD Summer School Radionuclides in food

The ISO-FOOD Summer School entitled “Radionuclides in food” will be organized from June 6-10, 2016, at the Jožef Stefan Institute, Reactor centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia. The summer school aims to provide participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to cover different aspects of determining the activity concentration of particular radionuclides in food and water. Registration for the Summer school is free. More information can be found in the course flier which again is available on the website.

Stefan’s days

Again be sure to catch us during this year’s Stefan’s day (19 to 25 March) when the Jožef Stefan Institute opens its doors to the general public (March 19 from 9 AM to 1 PM). All information concerning the week-long events will be available on the institute’s web page: www.ijs.si.


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

Copyright © 2014-19, ERA Chair, All rights reserved.
unsubscribe from this list
Follow ISO-FOOD on Twitter

ERA Chair · Jamova 39 · Ljubljana 1000 · Slovenia