In 2014, the following students has started studying at the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School. Their studies are related to the ISO-FOOD ERA Chair work:
Anja Mahne Opatić (Female, ESD)
Research work is focused on the studies of potential robust screen models for determining the geographical origin and discriminating amongst various types of production regimes of vegetables and field crops (lettuce, sweet pepper, tomato, garlic, potato) using isotopic techniques and elemental composition parameters in combination with chemometrics (e. g. multivariate discriminant analysis, principal component analysis). Stable isotopes of light elements (i.e. carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur), as well as elemental composition (P, S, Cl, K, Ca, Si, Ti, Zn, Br, Rb and Sr) were analysed in order to determine the geographical origin of vegetables at the local scale of Slovenia and also at the international scale of Southern and Central Europe and the Mediterranean. Additionally, rare earth elements (La, Pr, Nd, Dy, Er, Sc, Nb), other macro and micro elements (Na, Mg, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Mo, Cd, Cs, Pb) and chemical-physical parameters (antioxidant activity, total phenolics, vitamin C, carotenoids, ammonium, nitrite and nitrate content) were measured for this purpose. The preliminary results show good potential for the discrimination according to the geographical origin. Slovenian organic garlic and potato were classified into four macro- regions (Alpine, Dinaric, Pannonnian, Mediterranean), while the origin of lettuce, sweet pepper and tomato samples from grocery shops was determined at the international level (e.g., Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Spain, Morocco, Greece, and Turkey). The influence of different fertilizing regimes on nitrogen isotopic fingerprints in vegetables in combination with morphological characteristics was evaluated in pot experiments with garlic, sweet pepper and carrots. Results show differences among different types of production regimes. The studies have been conducted in collaboration with Department of low and medium energy physics (F2) at JSI, Department of Agronomy and Department of Food Science and Technology at Biotechnical faculty, and National Institute of Chemistry.
Tome Eftimov (Male, CSD)
Research work is focused on developing new methodologies and tools for data management, exploration and exploitation. The main research areas are the Natural Language Processing (NLP), Data Mining, and Statistics. NLP is a field of computer science, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and human languages. Data Mining is the process of discovering patterns in large data sets involving methods at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics, and database systems. Statistics is the study of the collection, analysis, interpretation, presentation, and organization of data. Methods are developed in the field of food-related data and knowledge management, especially focused on food matching, knowledge extraction of evidence-based dietary recommendations, harmonization of food- and nutrition-related data, and statistical analyses. The studies have been conducted in collaboration with Computer Systems Department (CS), JSI, and Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School within the third-level study programme Information and Communication Technologies.
Eva Kranjc (Female, CMPD)
Eva’s research is focused on examining plant-nanoparticle interactions in terms of a) the uptake and translocation of nanoparticles from exposed to unexposed plant segments (quantified with inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry), and b) nanoparticle leaf surface adsorption patterns (investigated with scanning electron microscopy). Nanoparticles are used as a test material because pollutants are often transported in this form through the atmosphere and because they may exhibit enhanced and/or novel forms of toxicity relative to bulk counterparts. Controlled experiments of Pt nanoparticle root- and leaf-exposed lettuce plants (arugula and escarole) have revealed that both plants absorb and translocate Pt nanoparticles from roots to leaves and from leaves to roots. Differences in leaf surface hydrophobicity (wettability) between the two plants are also reflected in differing Pt nanoparticle surface adsorption patterns and in their capacities to retain the applied nanoparticles. The results of this work are relevant for understanding how plants respond to nanoparticles in areas with high air pollution (even when the soil is unpolluted) and in developing strategies to limit exposure. This work is being completed in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Sciences (O2) at JSI and the Department of Biology at the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana.