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6th newsletter


ISO-FOOD newsletter 6th

Welcome to the sixth ISO-FOOD newsletter.


Welcome to our latest newsletter, which comes at the end of a busy transitional period for ISO-FOOD. We are sad to say farewell to our three postdocs Dr Kelly Peeters, Dr Miha Trdin and Dr Martina Lorenzetti, all of whom have found new positions. We wish them all the best in their careers and look forward to continuing our collaborations. The exciting news is that we welcome three new ISO-FOOD-sponsored postdocs: Dr Jelena Golubović, Dr Andreja Cirič and Dr Ragu Chouhan. Their arrival will bring new knowledge to ISO-FOOD and open new avenues of research. You will able to follow their progress on our website and on our Facebook page. We will be profiling each of them in our future newsletters beginning in this issue with Dr Golubović. There will be other new faces joining the ISO-FOOD study group. Two doctoral students will begin their studies in the department of Environmental Sciences. David Škufca will study the efficiency of algal ponds for wastewater treatment on laboratory and pilot scales. He will also evaluate the quality of treated wastewater for crop irrigation (wastewater reuse) and the potential of algae as an animal feed. Also joining the Department of Environmental Sciences will be Jasmina Masten. Having received her Master’s degree in Food Technology from the University of Ljubljana, Jasmina will be using isotope methods in her doctoral research to study the potential of algae as a future food source. She will join the department under the supervision of Prof Ogrinc. I am also pleased to report that our educational programme at the Jožef Stefan International Post Graduate School is now running and offers students the opportunity to earn credit in a series of unique food related courses. In this issue, we also get the chance to report on our Spring School and Summer Schools. I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to invited speakers, lecturers and organisers who contributed to making these events so successful. In April, I was honoured to present the first ISO-FOOD prize for best poster relating to food at the 9th Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate Conference and Young Researchers Day 2017 to Miha Mrzlikar for his work on neonicotinoids residues in honey. I also have to congratulate ISO-FOOD’s own Anja Mahne Opatić for receiving the Best Poster Award at the 5th MS Food Day in Bologna. As usual, ISO-FOOD has been attending many conferences and meetings. We will also be attending future events so we hope to see some of you there.

Dr. David Heath,
ERA Chair holder

New ISO-FOOD Postdoc Jelena Golubović

Jelena Golubović joined group of prof. Ester Heath in September 2017 as a postdoctoral researcher. She gained her PhD in 2016 at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Belgrade in the field of organic analytical chemistry.
Her research is focused on analytical techniques – mainly liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, as well as employing chemometrics for the purpose of method development, identification and determination of compounds of interest, and getting insight into the mechanism of the analytical methods.

What brought you to Jozef Stefan Institute and ISO-FOOD project?
After I finished PhD studies, I wanted to switch more applicative analytical chemistry, but to stay in research and spread my research focus to new fields of application. Food is always of great importance, and I would say under the spotlight nowadays. On one hand developing countries struggle with insufficient food production, while developed countries struggle with obesity, diabetes and food waste, and for that reason seeking healthier and more regulated food production is essential. Further, the Jožef Stefan Institute is one of the leading research institutions in this part of Europe and this offer sounded very attractive.

What do you think are your biggest scientific achievements to date?
My PhD was focused on employing artificial neural networks for predicting HPLC retention and mass spectrometry signal intensity, depending on the analyte structure coded by certain numbers – molecular descriptors. I published several papers in the eminent scientific journals (Journal of Chromatography A, Talanta…). I would highlight my paper describing the development and validation of a LC-MS/MS method for the detection and quantification of low levels of undeclared corticosteroids in cosmetic creams (Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2015, 29, 2319–2327). For this work, I was awarded the Humanity in science award – Silver Certificate in Munich last year. The award recognizes and rewards researchers from all over the world for analytical science breakthroughs that have substantially benefitted human lives. Finally, I believe I have already found a place in the scientific community, being an invited reviewer of more than fifteen manuscripts.

What are you enjoying most about working at JSI?
My first impression about the people, the organization, and research conditions in is very positive. My colleagues are real knowledge-seekers. The Department of Environmental Sciences is heterogenic in narrow research interests but complementary enough to allow collaboration of the groups and constant sharing of knowledge and experience. Lot of things are going on at the Institute, and this multidisciplinary scientific environment is good for gaining new ideas. Working in a new environment and in an international team is always challenging, and requires a high-level of adaptability and flexibility. I had an opportunity to spend some time at different European universities (Ruprecht – Karls University of Heidelberg, Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, University of Leipzig, Medical University of Vienna and University of Ljubljana) and I can adapt very easily.

What is challenging about working on the ISO-FOOD project?
The good thing about being a postdoctoral researcher is that you can propose research projects and to some extent independent in your work. Earlier, my main analytes were drugs, while I have now switched to food ingredients. Nevertheless, I believe that having a broad pharmaceutical background makes me a researcher who can easily tackle new scientific fields. Matrices and analyzed samples are different from pharmaceutical ones, as well as regulations. Luckily, different types of LC-MS instruments are available to cover the needs.

What do you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
I am a sports addict, so I joined football and volleyball Institute’s crew. Geographical position of Ljubljana is perfect for traveling around. I also enjoy having beer after work or partying in weekends with my friends. In between, I am studying Slovenian grammar and learning new words every day.

Two students awarded their MSc degree

Anja Drame awarded her MSc degree
Congratulations to ISO-FOOD’s Anja Drame who in September successfully defended her Master’s thesis entitled “Colorimetric Assay for TiO2 Nanoparticles Detection in Complex Matrices such as Food Samples”. The application of nanotechnology to the food sector has the potential to provide new ways of more efficiently producing, controlling and structuring foods with greater functionality and value. At the same time, the presence in food of engineered nanoparticles poses a new and relatively unknown risk. There is also a lack of methodologies for detecting nanoparticles in complex matrices like food. Anja’s work involved developing and optimizing a colorimetric assay for detecting TiO2 nanoparticles in various complex matrices based on methylene blue. To prevent agglomeration and adsorption of molecules on the TiO2 surface, she coated the nanoparticles with the cationic surfactant hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB). Anja’s work shows that it is possible to detect TiO2 nanoparticles with low detection limits (50 ppm). She also describes unexpected results regarding the buffer solution – 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulfonic acid (HEPES), which has a significant influence on the TiO2 nanoparticles. Anja has already begun her doctoral research into developing electrochemical acrylamide sensors. Acrylamide is a widely used monomer but it can also form in some starchy foods during high-temperature cooking, such as frying, roasting, and baking as a by-product of the Maillard’s reaction. There is growing evidence that acrylamide is genotoxic and carcinogenic and its presence is food is a major public health concern. Being able to monitor acrylamide in food will help reduce dietary exposure. We look forward to collaborating with Anja in the future and she will remain a part ISO-FOOD.

Igor Perišić awarded his MSc degree
Igor Perišić, under the supervision of Prof Ogrinc, successfully defended his Master’s degree in “Determination of Geographical Origin of Slovenian Milk using an Elemental Composition and Stable Isotope Approach”. As Igor points out, determining authenticity and geographical origin is an important issue in the milk and dairy industry, especially with growing interest on the part of consumers to know the origin of the food they buy. Many products, including those with PDO status, sell for a premium, making them an obvious target for food fraud. Likewise, producers recognize the marketing opportunity that this type of labelling provides and would like to communicate the origin of their products. In his work, Igor applied the measurement of stable isotope values of oxygen and hydrogen (δ18O and δ2H) in milk, the isotopic composition of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur in casein (δ13C, δ15N and δ34S) and elemental composition with multivariate statistical analysis to dairy products from five distinct (macro) regions of Slovenia. Igor was able to show how farming regimes influence the isotopic composition of the final products and how this together with elemental analysis means it is possible to verify declared geographical origin – in some cases with an overall prediction ability of 100%. For example, the amount of maize in the cow diet was clearly reflected in the δ13C of casein indicating that more than 80% of the cows were mainly feed by maize. Hs work also contributes the first database.

Double ERA Chair Success at the 9th Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School Students’ Conference

In April the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School held its 9th Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School Students’ Conference and the Young Researchers Day in chemistry, materials, biochemistry and the environment (CMBE), in Ljubljana, Slovenia. This innovative annual international conference displays the work of seventy students and traditionally finishes with an awards ceremony. This year the ERA Chair ISO-FOOD awarded a special prize for best poster related to food research, which was decided on the strength of five independent judges. This year saw success for two students. Miha Mrzlikar was the winner of the ERA Chair ISO-FOOD prize for best conference poster relating to food for his work entitled “Analysis of Neonicotinoid Pesticides in Honey” and Doris Potočnik received the Conference prize for best poster for her work on “Stable isotope and elemental characterization of Slovenian milk”. ISO-FOOD collaborates with and partially supports both students work.
Conference Poster Session Conference audience waiting for the organisers to announce this year’s awards

Miha is a MSc student in the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology at the University of Ljubljana under the mentorship of Prof Prosen (UL). His study concerns neonicotinoids residues in honey. Neonicotinoids are used in various forms such as seed dressings, foliar sprays, granules, and soil drenches to provide in-plant protection from insects. Although originally considered safe in the environment, their use has been linked to honeybee colony collapses. Research has shown that very small amounts can have large effects on the bees. The pesticides also threaten bee queens in particular — which means colonies have lower reproductive rates. The use of neonicotinoids has now been limited or prohibited in many countries. After the collapse of 2500 bee colonies in Prekmurje, Slovenia has prohibited the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam for the seed treatment of maize, sugar beet and oilseed rape since 2011. In his study, Miha validated and compared two different extraction techniques (Solid Phase Extraction and QuEChERS) and two different analysers (HPLC-UV and HPLC-MS/MS) and evaluated both methods in terms of extraction efficiency, matrix removal, repeatability, limit of detection (LOD), and limit of quantification (LOQ). Miha has since applied his method to the analysis of Slovenian honey samples across Slovenia in order to monitor the effectiveness of the ban and potential exposure to authorised neonicotinoid pesticides.

Doris Potočnik, a doctoral student at the Department of Environmental Sciences, Jožef Stefan in the Group of Isotope Geochemistry under the mentorship of Prof Ogrinc, is actively involved in the work of ISO-FOOD. Doris’s research utilises stable isotope ratios of light elements (13C/12C, 15N/14N, 18O/16O, 34S/32S) and elemental composition to verify and determine the origin of milk samples available on the Slovenian market. One of her main tasks was to create, implement, update and maintain a database of authentic Slovenian milk samples, which she will use for the classification and verification of Slovenian samples based on regional provenance and to differentiate Slovenian milk from those produced in other European countries. By applying multivariate statistics namely, Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA), to her isotopic data set, she is able to differentiate Slovenian milk from the milk produced in other EU countries (Austria, Croatia, Germany and Italy) and effectively discriminate and verify the correct declaration of milk products and provide clear information about geographical origin and authenticity. Information available through her work will increase the transparency of the milk and dairy products supply chain.
Miha Mrzlikar with his poster “Analysis of Neonicotinoid Pesticides in Honey” Dr Heath presenting Miha Mrzlikar with the ISO-FOOD prize for best food related poster Doris Potočnik being handed her prize by the Dean of the School Prof Milena Horvat (ISO-FOOD project Coordinator)

Summer School on Elemental speciation in food

We know that elements present in the environment and in our food exist in different physico-chemical forms, in different valence states, and as ligand complexes, organometallic and biomolecules. Knowing their specific forms is important in understanding nutrition (deficiencies) and their toxicity, bioavailability, bioaccumulation and mobility and fate (metabolism). In September, we organised, together with the group for Environmental Analytical Chemistry headed by Prof Milačič and Prof Ščančar, who together with their group put together the scientific program, a three day Summer School looking at element speciation. Our aim was to provide an introduction to, and discuss the measurement of, trace elemental species in different types of food while creating a networking event to bring together the main players in the field within Slovenia. The Summer School, held over three days, included a series of lectures introducing the importance of element speciation analysis, theory, instrumentation and specific case studies of individual essential and nonessential elements (Cr, Ni, Hg, Zn and As). The speciation of essential and non-essential, potentially toxic, trace elements, and its applications to food was the focus of the lectures. Its aim was also to obtain input from invited participants on key scientific considerations pertaining to food research, with a focus on policy and state-of-the-art food analysis including the use of stable isotopes as tracers and speciation analysis using the latest hyphenated techniques (HPLC-ICP-MS and GC-ICP-MS). Day two and three we devoted to giving participants hand-on experience in the laboratory allowing them to perform actual speciation measurements. The lectures also covered the topic of nanoparticles in food. The application of nanotechnology in the food industry continues to grow at a brisk pace, resulting in the presence of metallic nanoparticles in food products. Knowing the concentration and form of the nanoparticles, migration in nutritional products and agglomeration of particles contributes significantly to the assessment of their potential toxicity in foods. The summer school was aimed at master’s and doctoral level students, researchers and professionals working in analytical chemistry and nutrition and those with knowledge of the agri-food sectors, agronomy, and biotech. Like all ISO-FOOD events, attendance was free of charge. The workshop was a great success thanks to the enthusiasm of the organising committee, the workshop participants and, of course, our speakers. A list of speakers can be found the ISO-FOOD website.

Participants at the Summer School “Elemental Speciation in Food”
Prof Milačič lecturing on the subject of Nickel speciation in cocoa Preparing the mussels for extraction


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

3rd International Conference NANOAPP 2017, June 2017
In June, Eva Kranjc, one of our PhD students, attended the 3rd International Conference NANOAPP 2017 in Bled, Slovenia. She presented her work entitled “Comparison of Arugula (Eruca sativa Mill.) and Escarole (Cichorium endivia L.) Interactions with Foliar- and Root-Applied Platinum Nanoparticles” which was prepared in collaboration with Professors Marjana Regvar and Damjana Drobne from the Biotechnical Faculty at the University of Ljubljana, Dr Darja Mazej from the Department of Environmental Sciences at JSI, and her supervisor, Prof Maja Remškar. Her work contributes to understanding plant responses to nanoparticle exposures, with implications for human ingestion exposures and environmental transfer.

2017 Annual Meeting ISBNPA, June 2017
In June Tome Eftimov, one of our PhD students, attended the 2017 Annual Meeting of the International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity in Victoria, BC, Canada. He presented the work “Mixed Deep Learning & Natural Language Processing approach for food image detection, recognition and analysis aimed to estimate nutritional values”, which is made in a collaboration with Simon Mezgec, Assoc. Prof Peter Korošec, and his supervisor, Asst. Prof Barbara Koroušić Seljak. The work was presented as a part of the Symposium: “Man or machine? How far are we in the field of smart devices for dietary data collection?” and is one approach for automatic dietary assessment method.

MOD 2017, September 2017
In September, PhD student Tome Eftimov attended the Third International Conference on Machine Learning, Optimization and Big Data (MOD 2017), in Volterra, Tuscany, Italy. The conference was an ideal opportunity to present his research in the statistical data analysis made together with Assoc. Prof Peter Korošec, and his supervisor, Asst. Prof Barbara Koroušić Seljak. His work investigates more robust statistics that can be applied in order to obtain more reliable statistical results, which is applicable in any domain.

ECML PKDD 2017, September 2017
In September, PhD student Tome Eftimov also attended the European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases (ECML PKDD 2017), in Skopje, Macedonia. He presented the idea of his PhD thesis, “Synergy of Natural Language Processing and Statistics to Explore Food- and Nutrition-related Data and Knowledge”, as a part of the PhD forum. This work was a summary of already presented methods that are published in scientific journals.

EuroFoodChem XIX Conference, October 4-6, 2017, Budapest, Hungary
In October Anja Mahne Opatić attended the EuroFoodChem XIX Conference in Budapest, Hungary, from 4th – 6th October 2017, which was organized under the umbrella of the Food Chemistry Division of European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS) in cooperation with the Hungarian Chemical Society and the Faculty of Food Science, Szent István University, Budapest. There Anja presented her work titled “Elemental profiling and stable isotope analysis to differentiate the origin of potato at the scale of Slovenia” The aim of this preliminary work was to examine the possibility of using a combination of stable isotope ratios of light elements (C, N, O, S), multi-elemental profiling and supervised pattern recognition statistical analysis to characterizing and classifying organically grown potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) according to its geographical origin. Results of multivariate DA show that potato samples are successfully separated into four groups according their macro-region of origin. The poster was presented as a part of Session 3- Food adulteration, authenticity and traceability.

3rd IMEKO FOODS 2017, October 2017
In October, Gordana Ispirova from Computer Systems Department at Jožef Stefan Institute attended the 3rd International Conference IMEKO FOODS, Metrology promoting Standardization and Harmonization in Food and Nutrition, in Thessaloniki, Greece. The conference was focused at F&N metrology, which is an emerging discipline that is helpful in strengthening the reliability of analytical data, and integration of metrological concepts into the measurement process. She presented the work “A semi-automatic system of classifying and describing foods according to FoodEx2” – Tome Eftimov, Gordana Ispirova, Peter Korošec, and Barbara Koroušić Seljak. The work presented is about the method that can be used for automatic food data harmonization.

IFDC 2017, October 2017
In October, Assoc. Prof Peter Korošec from Computer Systems Department at Jožef Stefan Institute attended the 12th International Food Data Conference (IFDC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The aim of the conference was to exchange experiences around the activities of the generation and compilation of food composition data and their applications in the different areas such as nutrition, health, biodiversity, food technology, biotechnology, food polices food nutrition education, and agriculture programs and policies. He presented the work “Matching foods from EuroFIR databases to FoodEx by using a semi-automatic system for classifying and describing foods” made in a collaboration with Tome Eftimov and Barbara Koroušić Seljak from Computer Systems Department at JSI, Aida Turrini from Crea-Council fro Agricultural Research and Economics – research Center fro Food and Nutrition, Italy, and Mark Roe and Paul Finglas from Quadram Institute Bioscience, UK.


Eftimov, T., Korošec, P., & Koroušić Seljak, B. (2017). A Novel Approach to statistical comparison of meta-heuristic stochastic optimization algorithms using deep statistics. Information Sciences, 417, 186-215.

Eftimov, T., Koroušić Seljak, B., & Korošec, P. (2017). A rule-based named-entity recognition method for knowledge extraction of evidence-based dietary recommendations. PloS one, 12(6), e0179488.

Eftimov, T., Korošec, P., & Koroušić Seljak, B. (2017). StandFood: Standardization of Foods Using a Semi-Automatic System for Classifying and Describing Foods According to FoodEx2. Nutrients, 9(6), 542.

New Classes at the Jožef Stefan Post Graduate School

ISO-FOOD’s new doctoral courses in Food Quality, Safety and Traceability established at the Jožef Stefan Postgraduate School (JSIPS) will form part the Ecotechnology programme and classes will begin in the academic year 2017/18. Students will also be able to take classes for credit in January as part of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme BIOSCIENCES – Food Sciences at the University of Ljubljana. Students enrolled at the University will likewise be able to take the courses available at the JSIPS. Together the courses cover food traceability and authenticity, chemical safety – inorganic, organic contaminants, nanoparticles, foodomics, sensor systems, and chemical and food toxicology. The doctoral study program in Biosciences at the University of Ljubljana will cover physical-biochemical methods, food quality and safety, interaction of sensory and instrumental methods, new technologies in food of animal origin and contemporary technologies of plant foods. You can find full details on our website.

A KIC to boost food related entrepreneurship in Europe

As you are probably aware, Innovation is about creating added value to a product or service for producers and consumers. Traditionally, we have considered the food industry as a mature, low-tech industry with a low rate of mostly incremental innovations. This may not be the case much longer as Dr Heath found out in September when he attended a meeting of EIT Food in Warsaw Poland. EIT Food is the latest European Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC). During the meeting, Prof Krzysztof Klincewicz informed delegates how EIT Food will create regional hubs to connect partners from leading businesses, universities, research centres and institutes across thirteen countries in Europe and from the entire food value chain. This they hope will develop a skilled food sector that is consumer centric, providing consumers with products, services and new technologies, which will deliver a healthier lifestyle for all European citizens. According to Prof Klincewicz, the EIT Food wants Europe to lead a global revolution in food innovation and production. Slovenia will be part of the Co-Location Centre (CLC) Northeast. Full details about EIT Food are available on their website (https://www.eitfood.eu).

Chapter of book in Science within Food: Up-to-date Advances on research and Educational Ideas

A research group of the ERA-Chair ISO-FOOD project published a chapter entitled “How to perform properly statistical analysis on food data? An e-learning tool: Advanced Statistics in Natural Sciences and Technologies” as a part of the book “Science within Food: Up-to-date Advances on research and Educational Ideas”, which needs to be released by mid-October 2017. The book is committed to giving an overview of the state of the art and on upcoming trends, and to promoting discussion about scientific, technological and educational aspects related to food science. The work was made in collaboration between ISO-FOOD members Tome Eftimov, Peter Korošec, and Barbara Koroušić Seljak from Computer Systems Department at JSI, and Doris Potočnik, Nives Ogrinc and David Heath from the Department of Environmental Sciences at JSI. The main purpose of the work was to provide a tutorial on how to perform statistical analysis of food data because many scientists have problems and difficulties in performing a statistical analysis of their data, which is a crucial task in order to interpret correctly the results of their work.


ISO-FOOD holds its first satellite event at the 16th ICCE 2017 Date: 18.06. – 22.06.2017

This year, with special thanks to the organising committee of the 16th International Conference on Chemistry and the Environment In Oslo (18.06. – 22.06.2017), ISO-FOOD held a special satellite event on “Isotopic techniques and their applications in environmental and food research”. The satellite event was organised by Dr Heath and Prof Ogrinc in association with the MASSTWIN project with the aim of highlighting recent advances in instrumentation and application of isotopic techniques used in environment, food and health related research, and by doing so, to explore the opportunities and challenges ahead. Specifically, our Satellite event dealt with both traditional stable isotopes of light elements, compound specific application of organic pollutants and non-traditional stable isotopes of trace elements to determine their sources and transformation processes in the environment. The one day event bought together leading researchers (six in total) in the field who presented state-of-the-art knowledge, including their own recent research. Both the satellite event and conference were an ideal opportunity to present the ERA Chair ISO-FOOD and MASSTWIN and to network with those working on persistent pollutants and non-target screening. The conference itself was excellent and we would like to convey our congratulations to the organising committee. At the conference Dr Heath and co-workers presented two posters representing collaborative work, one on the culmination of the work on Bisphenols in Honey entitled “Migration of Bisphenols from Honey Packaging” and a second poster entitled “PCBs, Dioxins, and Furans in Fish Commonly Available on the Slovene Market”.

MASSTWIN supported the 5th MS Food DAY in Bologna

The MS Food DAY is a biannual conference focused on all topics related to the use, methods and applications of mass spectrometry (MS) in food, organized by the Mass Spectrometry Division of the Italian Chemical Society. This year, it was held in Bologna, Italy, on October 11-13. The topics of the conference were “Innovations in food science applications of MS” (food authenticity, traceability, safety, quality, functional foods and nutrition, foodomics, sensomics, packaging and process monitoring, and big data management) and “Methodological and instrumental developments” (high resolution MS, high-throughput techniques, ambient MS, isotope ratio MS, direct injection/infusion MS and ion sources in mass analyses). Two hundred thirty participants from 13 countries worldwide attended the conference. Four presentations were given by the staff of the Department of Environmental Sciences, two of them by ISO-FOOD members: “Differentiation of Slovenian Milk Based on the Content and Carbon Isotope Composition of Fatty Acids” by Doris Potočnik and “A Preliminary Traceability Model for Tomato Using Analysis of Stable Isotopes, Elemental Content and Chemical Markers” by Anja Mahne Opatić. Anja’s poster received the Best Poster Award out of 73 posters. Congratulations!

Spring School on The use of isotopic and elemental fingerprinting for determining authenticity and geographic origin of food

The ISO-FOOD spring school took place on April 4-7, 2017, and was designed with national stakeholders in mind. The overall aim of the course was to provide essential information on isotopic, chemical and chemometric methods for determining the geographical origin, authenticity and production regime of food products, including, for example, wine, fruit juices, honey, milk and dairy products, bottled water, oils, and vegetables. The free four-day course gave participants the opportunity to become acquainted with the state-of-the–art in the application of elemental and isotopic analysis in determining the authenticity and geographical origin of food. The course consisted of lectures in the morning session, with the option to carryout practical work in the afternoon. The lecturers included researchers and fellows of the ISO-FOOD ERA Chair, with invited experts from the Department of Low- and Medium-Energy Physics of the J. Stefan Institute, Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection (Ljubljana Slovenia) and the Institute of Olive culture of the Science and Research Centre of Primorska (Koper, Slovenia). The topics covered included EU and national legislation in the field of food authenticity and geographical origin; isotope chemistry and application of stable isotopes for determining the authenticity and geographical origin of food; elemental analysis of foodstuffs; stable isotope analysis by isotope ratio mass spectrometry; compound-specific isotope analysis; multivariate statistics and quality assurance and quality control in stable isotope analysis. Participants in particular appreciated the interactive lecture and practical session in the use of statistics – something we shall consider for future events. To summarize, the ISO-FOOD spring school was a worthwhile and memorable experience for all involved.

Dr. Polona Vreča explaining the use of reference materials for isotope analysis of water

ISO-FOOD & MASSTWIN workshop for stakeholders: Application of stable isotopes for determination of origin and authenticity of food

On June 15, a training workshop for stakeholders – experts from the Administration of Republic of Slovenia for food safety, veterinary and plant protection – was organized jointly by the ERA Chair and MASSTWIN projects as a compact course for food inspectors. Initiative for the course was taken by participants of the ISO-FOOD spring school from the Ministry of agriculture, forestry and food. The workshop consisted of two blocks of lectures (2 hours each) and discussion, and offered tailor-made knowledge for the purpose of food control in Slovenia. The basic definitions in isotope chemistry, mechanisms of isotope fractionation in organisms and the analytical tools available for the purpose of the control of food authenticity, production regime and geographical origin were presented. Several practical examples and experiences from the 20 years of application of stable isotopes in food control in Slovenia were elaborated, and advantages and drawbacks of isotopes as a tool for food authenticity and safety control were discussed.


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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