As the production of engineered nanoparticles (ENP) is a relatively new field, there are few established methods for the detection and characterisation of ENP. As a result there is an urgent need for analytical methods that allow the routine detection of ENP in food, for reference materials for the validation of analytical methods and for proficiency testing of laboratories that carry out such analysis.
Nanolyse is a project is being undertaken by an international consortium under the EU Framework 7 Programme with the European Commission providing 75% of the total funding. The FSA is providing the 25% top-up funding for the work that will be carried out by Fera as a UK partner in the consortium.
Fera will lead the first part of the project on developing rapid imaging and screening methods for engineered nanoparticles in food and will also be involved in developing coupled separation/characterisation methods for inorganic nanoparticles. These tasks will involve the development of sample preparation protocols and imaging (electron microscopy) and size separation (hydrodynamic chromatography) methods to analyse inorganinc ENPs in different food matrices. These methods will be validated using well characterised food matrix reference materials that will be produced within another part of the Nanolyse project. Small-scale interlaboratory method performance studies and the analysis of selected commercially available products, that may contain ENPs will be carried out to demonstrate the applicability of the methods. The expected outcome of this project will be in the form of validated analytical methods for ENP characterisation in food products, which will be of use to enforcement bodies and industrial end-users.