Monday, 16 September 2019

TS.IV.A

Nanotechnologies in the agri-food chain and related, emerging characterization techniques
 
The rapid development of nanotechnology has opened the door for innovation in many industrial sectors, for the improvement or development of new process and product properties. In the agri-food sector, three main categories of products/applications of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials can be identified, namely agricultural production (e.g. nano-formulated agrochemicals and animal feeds), food processing (nano-sized ingredients, additives, nutritional supplements and functional foods), and food contact materials.
Although making materials smaller can generate novel and useful properties, concerns have been raised on potential risks related to the interactions of nano-sized materials at the molecular or cellular levels, which may ultimately harm human health. The oral route of exposure is one of the most critical in this respect. Therefore, proper risk assessment of nanotechnology applications in the agri-food sector is crucially needed.
Another pivotal role is played by the availability of suitable characterization techniques, able to (i) target nanomaterials properties in real-world samples (e.g. polydispersed materials), and (ii) alternative to traditional techniques (e.g. electron microscopy), whose high cost may hinder smaller laboratories, innovation oriented SMEs, and discourages startups. Field Flow Fractionation (FFF) coupled with different detectors is an interesting option in many cases. FFF coupled with ICP-MS is, along with single particle ICP-MS, a very promising tool for inorganic nanomaterials. The two techniques have been tested in three interlaboratory studies promoted by the European Commission on their application to food analysis.
The symposium will deal with all these different themes: from applications of nanotechnologies to the agri-food sectors, including risk assessment issues, to the prospects of the above-mentioned, emerging characterization techniques.
Sep 21

17:15
18:45

 

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