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8th newsletter

ISO-FOOD newsletter 8th



Welcome to the eighth ISO-FOOD newsletter.
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Spring is finally here and it been It has been an exciting few months since we sent out the last newsletter. The ISO-FOOD team has been busy preparing our first International Symposium on Isotopic and Other techniques in Food Safety and Quality, which will be held in Potorož on 1st-3rd April 2019 at the Grand Hotel Conference Centre. All the information is available on our website or applie directly through our Special Symposium website here, and all the news will be in our next newsletter. In other news, our first Special Issue in the Journal of Food Chemistry is now open for submissions. For details read on. Also, in this newsletter, we celebrate two of our of ISO-FOOD researchers, Tome Eftimov and Eva Kranjc, who successfully defended their doctoral theses. Continuing in our series of post-doc interviews in this newsletter, we interview Dr Raghuraj Sing Chouhan.

Dr. David Heath,
ERA Chair holder

Congratulations to Two New ISO-FOOD PhD Graduates

Congratulations to Tome Eftimov on completing his doctoral studies. He successfully defended his PhD thesis in January 2018. His work entitled “Statistical data analysis and natural language processing for nutrition science” was conducted under the supervision of ISO-FOOD’s Assist Prof Barbara Koroušić Seljak from the Computer Systems Department, Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI) as part of the ERA-Chair ISO-FOOD project. The examiners who evaluated the thesis were Prof Nada Lavrač from the Department of Knowledge Technologies, JSI, Prof Sophia Ananiadou from the School of Computer Science, University of Manchester and the UK Centre for Text Mining, and Prof Peter Korošec from the Computer Systems Department, JSI. If you are interested in Tome’s research results, you can follow him on ResearchGate.

Tome being handed his doctoral diploma by Milena Horvat, dean of the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School.

Our congratulations also go out to ISO-FOOD’s Eva Kranjc! Dr Eva Kranjc successfully defended her PhD dissertation entitled “Nanoparticle deposition from the air as an inadvertent source of food contamination and edible plant surface responses” on 4. March 2019. Her work was completed under the mentorship of Prof. Maja Remškar from the Department of Condensed Matter Physics at the Jožef Stefan Institute.

Eva’s work was an investigation into the adhesion, uptake and translocation of nanoparticles from leaves to roots using two common salad plants: arugula and escarole. She found that the plants surface free energy – a measure of hydrophilicity significantly affects nanoparticle uptake and adsorption. The work has significant implications for the use of nanoparticles in agriculture and plants growing near sources of nano-particulate pollution. Her paper on Foliar surface free energy affects platinum nanoparticle adhesion, uptake, and translocation from leaves to roots in arugula and escarole is published in Environmental science: Nano (Kranjc et al., Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2018,5, 520-532).

          Eva presenting her during her public defence of her PhD.
Dr. Kranjc now works as a postdoc Research group for Nanobiology and Nanotoxicology at the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia while Dr Eftimov is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Population Health Sciences, in the Department of Biomedical Data Science, at Stanford University, California, United States. We wish both our graduates all the best in their future endeavours and thank them for their hard work and adding to the success of the ISO-FOOD Project.

ISO-FOOD researcher profile: Dr Raghuraj Sing Chouhan

Continuing in our series of post-doc interviews in this newsletter, we interview Dr Raghuraj Sing Chouhan. Dr Chouhan joined ISO-FOOD in October 2017. He obtained his PhD. in 2012 from Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, Karnataka, India. The focus of his research is on the design and application of innovative nanotechnology and nanoscience-based biosensors. His nano-biosensors can integrate biological molecules (DNA, antibodies, cells and enzymes) and other bio-receptors in conjunction with micro- and nanostructures. Dr Chouhan plans to integrate the beneficial properties of nanoparticles, nanotubes, graphene, nano-channels and other nanomaterials into innovative, high sensitive and mass-produced platforms for use in such food applications food safety and quality.
                       Dr. Raghuraj Sing at his work.

What brought you to Jožef Stefan Institute and ISO-FOOD project?
The objectives of ISO-FOOD fall well within my research background, and that made me want to explore the exploitation of nanotechnology-based platforms for food safety and security. This field of research is a novel, which I would contribute significantly to this project and in parallel increase the potential of my research. Moreover, the Jožef Stefan Institute is one of the top research institutes in Slovenia, which has many departments performing cutting edge research with state-of-the-art facilities. ISO-FOOD also offered to support me in applying for EU grants to accelerate my research ambitions.

What do you think are your most significant scientific achievement to date?
I have published 23 articles in refereed journals, one review article, two book chapters, and one have been referring proceedings since 2006. I am the first author in 17 of these publications and senior author of one paper. Fifteen of these papers are without my PhD supervisor. Furthermore, I have another six scientific papers submitted. According to Web of Science (as of October 7, 2018), these 23 articles have been cited 409 times (357 citations in 23 articles without self-citations), corresponding to an average of 30 citations per year and an h-index of nine. I have been the participant and speaker of 5 international scientific conferences with more than 80 participants each. Since 2018, I have served as an editorial board member of Scientific Report, Nature as well as a reviewer of several high impact journals. I think to date, my most significant contribution to science is the work I performed on the development of biosensors for sensing the toxicity of nanoparticles. This original work I published in the journals of Biosensors and Bioelectronics (IF8.1) and Sensors and Actuators (IF5.6). I have also received several awards, recognition and grants from different scientific communities. The one I am most proud of is the Scientific Exchange Fellowship that allowed me to study at the École Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, in Switzerland.

What are you enjoying most about working at IJS?
At Jožef Stefan Institute, the best thing is the freedom to follow your ideas in research and collaborate with colleagues from different sister departments. This position is an opportunity for me to closely work and share research knowledge with people from different scientific backgrounds. The institute also organises various activities for employees and communicate scientific ideas with the public at events such as “Researcher nights”, and “Science on the Street” (www.znanostnacesti.si). My co-workers are helpful and cooperative, which is essential in the workplace. The institute also has the highest safety, quality, and environmental practices. All these things make working at the institute enjoyable.

What is challenging about working on the ISO-FOOD project?
The greatest challenge for me is assuring the safety of food from “Farm Gate to the Dining Plate”, which is a much-needed task. To achieve this, I will apply my years of experience to produce sensors that can reduce potential food safety risks, but this is no simple task, especially since this work is new. Everything that comes packed needs inspecting for contamination before it reaches the consumer. Developing nanomaterials as sensors means we can check food products before its entry onto the market. Identifying fraudulent, deceptive practices, such as food adulteration, are essential and represent a challenge for the food industry. Determining trace contaminants in foods can reduce economic costs while protecting human health. The project ISO-FOOD will provide the solutions needed.

What do you enjoy in your leisure time?
Most of all, I enjoy reading and spending quality time with family and friends. I am a sports freak, and whenever I can find the time, I enjoy playing basketball and cricket.


1st Special Issue in Food Chemistry

The ERA Chair ISO-FOOD as guest editor of this special issue in the Journal of Food Chemistry invites people to submit original research and critical reviews on the use of isotopic techniques relating to food safety and quality. Although ISO-FOOD has a bias towards the use of Isotopes in authenticity and traceability, submissions on essential and nonessential elements and their speciation, organic contaminant and bioactive compounds in food and articles on the exploitation of big data are welcome. The journal’s Guide for Authors on how to prepare a paper is available on the Journals website. Articles must be submitted electronically via the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) site for the Journal at http://ees.elsevier.com/foodchem. Deadline for manuscript submission is June 15, 2018. To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for inclusion into the special issue, select “ VSI: ISO-FOOD” when you reach the “Article Type” step in the submission process

Jasmina Masten receives Prešeren award

On the 11th of December 2018 Jasmina Masten, a doctoral student at the JSI Department of Environmental Sciences, received the Prešeren award of the Biotechnical Faculty, the University of Ljubljana for her Master’s work titled “Quality parameters of lettuce, tomato and bell peppers from supermarkets”. Jasmina Masten, a young researcher at the JSI Department of Environmental Sciences, was a recipient of this year’s Prešeren award of the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. The award was presented on the 11th of December, 2018 in the Chamber hall of the University of Ljubljana by the dean of the Biotechnical faculty prof. Dr Emil Erjavec.

     Jasmina receiving Prešeren award.

Jasmina performed her work under the supervision of prof.Dr. Rajko Vidrih (Biotechnical faculty, University of Ljubljana). In her thesis, she analysed the nutritional quality of different vegetables according to their geographical origin and the period of storage. Her work shows that differences exist in the content of bioactive compounds in vegetables of different geographic origin.

Additionally, her research shows that storage time affects the bioactive compound content differently in different vegetable varieties. During a ten-day storage period, their content of particular compounds decreases while others increase. Jasmina’s research findings form part of an article published in Food Control.

First ISO-FOOD International Symposium on Isotopic and Other Techniques in Food Safety and Quality, Grand Hotel Portorož, Portorož, Slovenia


Call for papers. Special Issue: Food chemistry on ISO-FOOD: Isotopic techniques in food safety, quality and traceability. Deadline for manuscript submission: June 15, 2018



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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