RESEARCH AREAS


The main task is to support environment, health, and food related studies including all steps from planning, sampling, sample handling, sample preparation, substance detection and data interpretation. Food is considered not only as a source of energy, but also the main transport route is of an affordable way to prevent diseases. Therefore, the general trend in food science is to link the food and the environment on one hand, and the food and the health on the other. The key research areas in all three domains are organic contaminants, element speciation, traditional and non-traditional stable isotopes, nanoparticles and food safety, traceability and authenticity. Isotopic and elemental fingerprinting and chemical profiling (e.g. sugar, fatty acid, or even contaminant profiles) provide a robust analytical tool to determine the origin of food. Based on the measurements of the stable isotope content of a product or of a specific component of the product, means it is not only possible to determine the degree of adulteration, but also the region from which the product originates and even the year of production. The topic related to food safety applies to organic substances deriving from agricultural production practice, food additives and food contact materials, potentially toxic elements and their species and nano-sized particles (e.g., TiO2, Ag). Further, the research performed on human health contributes to increase knowledge on human exposure to potentially toxic compounds.

 

 



FEATURED PROJECTS


 
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ISO-FOOD: ERA Chair for Isotope Techniques in Food Quality, Safety and Traceability

The new ERA Chair was established in Summer 2014.The overall objective of the project is to enable the fusion of multidisciplinary knowledge and ideas for target-oriented research on three Pillar themes (Food authenticity, Food traceability and Food Safety) and two Horizontal themes (Metrological support and Knowledge repository).


HEALS: Health and Environment-wide Associations Based on Large Population Surveys


HEALS represents a comprehensive applied methodology focusing on the different aspects of individual assessment of exposure to conventional and emerging environmental stressors and on the prediction of the associated health outcomes.





CROME-LIFE: Cross-Mediterranean Environment and Health Network


The main environmental problem targeted by CROME-LIFE is the assessment of the impact on human health due to exposure to chemical agents originating either from environmental contamination (air, soil, water), or from consumer products (food contact materials, construction materials, cosmetics, clothes, etc.) through multiple routes, namely inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact in four distinct areas of southern Europe (Greece, Slovenia, Italy and Spain).


MASSTWIN: Spreading Excellence and widening participation in support of mass spectrometry and related techniques in health, the environment, and food analysis


The aim of the project approved in 2015 is to develop mass spectrometry (MS) based methodologies through cooperation and collective learning to study speciation of chemical elements with a focus on isotopic signatures and imaging, priority organic contaminant analysis, isotopic techniques in food authenticity and traceability and nanoparticle detection and characterisation and through a clearly defined plan of twining activities, educate young researchers and transfer knowledge between partners and to students.


The Use of Stable Isotopes and Elemental Composition for Determination of Authenticity and Geographical Origin of Milk and Dairy Products


The project takes a part of IAEA CRP: »Accessible technologies for the verification of origin of dairy products as an example control system to enhance global trade and food safety«. In the project the accessible traceability system based on stable isotope and elemental composition for the verification of the origin of milk and dairy products that can be further transferred to other countries is developed.



Evaluation of quality and safety parameters of vegetables produced on different systems in Slovenia and abroad with aim to establish national quality scheme for vegetables


The origin, quality and storability of vegetable in Slovenia are studied using the combination of stable isotopes, elemental composition and microbiological analysis.

The effect of iodine and selenium on growth and quality of crops


The main objective of the project is to improve food and yield nutritional quality throughout: (1) the study on plants receive/take up added iodine and selenium; (2) the study of the individual or combined effect on growth, crop yield and other characteristics of plants; and (3) the development of reliable analytical methods for speciation of both investigated elements in food of plant origin.

 


SELECTED PUBLICATIONS



                      Burnik Šturm, M., Kacjan-Maršić, N., Lojen, S. 2011. Can δ15N in lettuce tissues reveal the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser inorganic production? Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 91 (2), 262-267, doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4179.
    Kropf, U., Golob, T., Nečemer, M., Kump, P., Korošec, M., Bertoncelj, J., Ogrinc, N. 2010. Carbon and nitrogen natural stable isotopes in Slovene honey: adulteration and botanical and geographical aspects. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 58, 12794-12803, doi: 10.1021/jf102940s.
    Miklavčič, A., Stibilj, V., Heath, E., Polak, T., Tratnik Snoj, J. Klavž, J., Mazej, D., Horvat, M. 2011. Mercury, selenium, PCBs and fatty acids in fresh and canned fish available on the Slovenian market. Food Chemistry 124(3), 711-720.
    Halder, D., S. Bhowmick, S., A.Biswas, A., D. Chatterjee, D., J. Nriagu, J., D.N.G. Mazumdar, D.N.G., Z. Šlejkovec, Z., G. Jacks, G., P. Battacharya, P. 2013. Risk of arsenic exposure from drinking water and dietary components: Implications for risk management in rural Bengal. Environmental Science & Technology 47, 1120-1127.
    Štrok, M., Smodiš, B. 2011. Levels of Po-210 and Pb-210 in fish and molluscs in Slovenia and the related dose assessment to the population. Chemosphere 82, 970-976.
    Ščančar, J., Zuliani, T., Žigon, D., Milačič, R. 2013. Ni speciation in tea infusions by monolithic chromatographyICP-MS and Q-TOF-MS. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 405, 2041-2051, doi: 10.1007/s00216-012-6611-5
      More publications

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