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4th newsletter

ISO-FOOD newsletter 4th



Welcome to the fourth ISO-FOOD newsletter.



Welcome to the 4th ISO-FOOD Newsletter. In this newsletter, we report on the main activities of the ISO-FOOD project and offer a reminder of our upcoming events. Now in the third year of the project, ISO-FOOD continues to build on the hard work of its team members. In April, leading scientists from Europe and abroad came together for a workshop to discuss the latest advances in mercury speciation in the food web while in June we held our second Summer School on “determining radionuclides in food”. We thank everyone who participated and made all of our outreach and dissemination of these events such a success. We report on the progress in establishing our new ISO-FOOD doctoral teaching course at the Jožef Stefan International Post Graduate School, which will be available for the school year beginning 2017/2018. We also have news about several events planned including a workshop on “stable isotopic characterization in food” which will be held in December and a summer school on isotopes planned for early in the New Year. Both the workshop and summer school will be free for students and other researchers interested in food authenticity and traceability. We hope you find these newsletters useful and informative. If you have any questions or comments or would like to attend any of the ISO-FOOD events please contact us. You can find more information and our contact details on the ISO-FOOD website.

New projects

ISO-FOOD will now play an important role in two major projects: Food4future and PRO-METROFOOD.

We are also pleased to announce that we will be part of the Smart Specialization Program Food for Future (F4F) in the field of Sustainable food production. The program covers two main sets of product groups: (1) fortified foods with additional functional features and (2) foods with reduced content of undesirable substances and includes seven value chains (cereals, milk, meat, fruits / vegetables, honey, food supplements, and intelligent packaging). The programme consists of eleven projects, where the aim is to develop nine groups of prototypes. The projects members will perform the work within the field of sustainable production and processing of food products into functional foods and the development of technologies for sustainable crop and livestock production. The Era Chair ISO-FOOD is actively involved in the specific project entitled “Characterization and authenticity of natural raw materials” coordinated by Prof Nevis Ogrinc. The main objective is to determine the authenticity of aromas using chemical characterization and stable isotope approach. Our Industrial partner in this work is Etol Fruitarom a leading flavour and fine ingredients company.

PRO-METROFOOD: Progressing towards the construction of METROFOOD-RI: How certain are we about food safety
Metrology is the science of measurements and its application and is about ensuring the comparability and quality of measurements. In food research, as in any other scientific field, it is important that we can trust the results obtained. Metrology is a key pillar of ISO-FOOD’s mission and we can share the exciting news that we will become a partner in PRO-METROFOOD-RI, a European Research Infrastructure project (ESFRI). Research infrastructures are an EU instrument designed to bring together a wide diversity of stakeholders to find solutions to societal problems. According to the EC they are intended to create a new research environment in which all researchers – whether working in the context of their home institutions or in national or multinational scientific initiatives – have shared access to unique or distributed scientific facilities (including data, instruments, computing and communications), regardless of their type and location in the world. PRO-METROFOOD-RI will be a broad project dealing with metrology in food analysis including stable isotope measurements. Our role will be in the development and validation of analytical methodologies. It will participate in all aspects of the project, specifically as a work package leader dedicated to the development of pilot services – Physical-RI and in dissemination of results, education and training in the field of mass spectrometry. The JSI will also be the focal point representative for Slovenia. More details about PRO-METROFOOD-RI are can be found here.

ISO-FOOD workshop on speciation of trace elements: “Mercury speciation in food and the global mercury cycle”

From 4th to 6th April 2016, we held a workshop on “Mercury speciation in food and in the global mercury cycle”. We organised the workshop in an attempt to identify the knowledge gaps that exist in our understanding of Hg speciation in the food web including current analytical limitations and challenges. Focus was on the work of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which is an international treaty to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. The workshop was designed to complement our previous training workshop “Hg training: quality assurance for mercury measurements in food and environmental samples” held in November 2015. Over twenty invited scientists from Europe and abroad presented aspects of their work. A major conclusion was that the use of isotopes is clearly an area that has great potential for tracing mercury through the ecosystem and answering many of the outstanding fundamental questions (i.e. knowledge gaps) involving mercury speciation.

Summer School “Radionuclides in food”

The Summer School “Radionuclides in food” in June 6th-10th, 2016, was also a major event. As well as leading experts from the Jožef Stefan Institute, Dr Stefaan Pommé from the European Commission – Joint Research Centre, Geel, Belgium, kindly agreed to be our specialist guest lecturer on measurement uncertainty in non-stable isotopic measurements. Overall, 21 participants representing five countries (Slovenia, Greece, Serbia, Turkey, and Tajikistan) attended the workshop. Participants were from academia and governmental agencies. The five-day course combined theory and practice in all aspects of methods of radiochemical analysis as well as legislation, uncertainty estimation, measurement traceability and use of reference materials. Participants were also encouraged to bring their own specific case studies/problems for discussion. During the course, the participants had a unique opportunity to observe the TRIGA MKII research nuclear reactor in operation from atop the reactor core and take a guided tour of our hot cells and research facilities.

Networking and conferences

ISO-FOOD has been active in promoting the work of the Chair while attending the following conferences:

Health Risk Assessment: Principles and Applications, Stockholm, March 2016
In March Dr Lorenzetti, postdoctoral researcher, attended the “Health Risk Assessment: principles and applications” workshop organized by the IMM Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Its aim was to introduce the risk assessment process applied to chemical substances, regulation at the European and worldwide level, the standard methods recognized by authorities, and describe how the role of health risk assessment reflects in regulatory decision-making.

Nitrogen workshop “Efficient use of different sources of nitrogen in agriculture- from theory to practise”, Sweden, June 2016
Ms Anja Mahne Opatić, attended the 19th Nitrogen workshop – Efficient use of different sources of nitrogen in agriculture – from theory to practise, which took place in Skara (Sweden), and was arranged by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and supported by the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) of Europe. The conference was an ideal opportunity to present her research in the use of isotopes to distinguish between organic versus conventional farming regimes. Her work investigates whether or not the N isotopic composition (δ15N) of produce can reveal the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer in organic production by using different N fertilizer types and combinations thereof in order to leave a specific δ15N fingerprint in garlic (Allium sativum L.), sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) and carrot (Daucus carota subsp. Sativus L.).

Responsible Research and Innovation in the Food Value Chain – 4th International ISEKI_Food Conference, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria, July 6th – 8th 2016
In July, PhD student Eva Kranjc attended the 4th International ISEKI Food Conference on “Responsible Research and Innovation in the Food Value Chain” which was held at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, in Austria. Eva presented a poster with the first results of her ongoing research to quantify the uptake and translocation of platinum nanoparticles applied to the leaves or roots of arugula and escarole salad greens. Both plants are commonly grown (both commercially and in private gardens) and consumed yet they possess different surface characteristics, which might result in different nanoparticle uptake and surface adsorption patterns between the two. The results obtained so far indicate that similar rates of translocation occur in both plants from roots to leaves and from leaves to roots in a concentration dependent manner.

International Association of Environmental Analytical Chemistry – ISEAC39 Conference ENVIRONMENTAL & FOOD MONITORING, University of Hamburg, Germany, July 19th – 22nd 2016
In July, Prof Ogrinc represented ISO-FOOD at the ISEAC39 Conference in Hamburg, Germany along with her group’s research into the application of compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA) to the analysis of fatty acids in false flax oil (Camelina sativa oil), olive oil, and pumpkin oils, in addition to other products containing olive oil such as tuna. The results indicated that all of the investigated samples of tuna available on the Slovenian market contain authentic olive oil. She also discussed the extraction of vanilla aroma from fourteen different ice creams and yogurts in order to evaluate their authenticity based on the measured carbon isotopic composition. Initial suggests that approximately 40% of samples had incorrect labels.

The 7th International Conference on Bioinspired optimization methods and their applications (BIOMA 2016)
Also in May, Tome Eftimov presented a paper entitled “Disadvantages of Statistical Comparison of Stochastic Optimization Algorithms” at the 7th International Conference on Bioinspired optimization methods and their applications (BIOMA 2016) (18-20 May, 2016, Bled, Slovenia). His working paper is about the differences that exist between parametric and non-parametric statistical tests. The main contributions of this work are the disadvantages that appear using hypothesis testing in the cases when the data includes outliers (poor data).


POTOČNIK, Doris, NEČEMER, Marijan, MAZEJ, Darja, JAĆIMOVIĆ, Radojko, OGRINC, Nives. Multi-elemental-composition of Slovenian milk: analytical approach and geographical origin determination. Acta IMEKO, ISSN 2221-870X, 2016, vol. 5, no. 1, str. 15-21. https://acta.imeko.org/index.php/acta-imeko/article/view/IMEKO-ACTA-05%20%282016%29-05.

BAT, Karmen, ELER, Klemen, MAZEJ, Darja, MOZETIČ VODOPIVEC, Branka, MULIČ, Ines, KUMP, Peter, OGRINC, Nives. Isotopic and elemental characterisation of Slovenian apple juice according to geographical origin: preliminary results. Food chemistry, ISSN 0308-8146. [Print ed.], 2016, vol. 203, str. 86-94, ilustr., doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.02.039.

KLANČNIK, Anja, TOPLAK, Nataša, KOVAČ, Minka, OGRINC, Nives, JERŠEK, Barbara. Robust PCR-based method for quantification of bovine milk in cheeses made of caprine and ovine milk. International journal of dairy technology, ISSN 1364-727X, Nov. 2016, vol. 69, iss. 4, str. 540-549, ilustr., doi: 10.1111/1471-0307.12287.

NEČEMER, Marijan, POTOČNIK, Doris, OGRINC, Nives. Discrimination between Slovenian cow, goat and sheep milk and cheese according to geographical origin using a combination of elemental content and stable isotope data. Journal of food composition and analysis, ISSN 0889-1575, 2016, vol. 52, str. 16-23, doi: 10.1016/j.jfca.2016.07.002.

POTOČNIK, Tanja, OGRINC, Nives, POTOČNIK, Doris, KOŠIR, Iztok Jože. Fatty acid composition and [delta][sub](13)C isotopic ratio characterisation of pumpkin seed oil. Journal of food composition and analysis, ISSN 0889-1575, 2016, vol. 53, str. 85-90, doi: 10.1016/j.jfca.2016.09.005.

New doctoral course

Traceability systems provide information on the history, authenticity and origin of a product in the food supply chain. Despite many improvements in the field, there remains a demand for analytical methods that are more robust and strategies that can deliver better qualitative and quantitative results. This is the reality for many working in modern food science, so it is essential to have sufficient knowledge to make the most of what these technologies have to offer. Because of this, we have established a new doctoral course at the Jožef Stefan International Post Graduate School (IPS), which is as an independent higher education institution providing postgraduate studies at the master’s and doctoral levels through a joint research and educational process. The School runs four study programmes centred on nanoscience and nanotechnologies, information and communication technologies, ecotechnologies, and sensor technologies, a full description of which is available on their website. Our doctoral course is for those who wish to understand better systems and concepts relating to food authenticity and traceability. By actively participating in doctoral studies at the school, students will develop the skill-set necessary to undertake outstanding research of their own. Our new module, in English Language, will explore all aspects of food traceability, it will form part of the accredited ECO-technology programme of the JSIPS and will include the following topics: food traceability and authenticity; food chemical safety – inorganic, organic contaminants, nanoparticles; sensor systems, and metabolomics. The proposed module will also form part of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme in BIOSCIENCES – Food Sciences at the University of Ljubljana.



We are now preparing for an exciting few months. This will include a workshop on “Isotopic techniques in food characterisation” which will coincide with a group training on “Metrology in isotope ratio measurements: traceability, uncertainty and comparability”. This will be a joint event with the MASSTWIN project. The workshop will be free and open to all who are interested in the exploration of new directions and emerging topics in the use of isotopes for the origin and authenticity characterization of food.. Details of all our events are available on our website and in our next newsletter.

Announcement: ISO-FOOD summer school on authentication of food products by isotope and elemental fingerprinting in 2017


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