Novel Analytical Methods Applied to Food and Environment

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Science and Technology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 10361

Special Issue Editors

Quantum Metrology and Nano Technologies Department, INRIM - National Institute of Metrological Research, I-10135 Torino, Italy
Interests: chemical metrology; vibrational spectroscopy; food metrology; nanotechnology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Quantum Metrology and Nano Technologies Division, Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRiM), 10135 Turin, Italy
Interests: Raman spectroscopy; surface-enhanced Raman scattering; antibacterial surface; nanoparticles; nanostructured surface; biosensors; food safety

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The European Green Deal sets out a number of ambitious targets related to protection of human health, zero pollution for water, air, and soil, and sustainable food systems.

To ensure the development of a clean and safe environment and the boost of a “Farm to Fork strategy” under a circular economy perspective, a number of actions must be implemented. Among others, the development, testing, and validation of analytical approaches for the characterization of environmental and food matrices plays a prominent role, for promoting and supporting the deep and reliable characterization of novel materials, the detection of possible emerging contaminants, and the quantification of major and in trace analytes.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect prominent scientific contributions from qualified experts in the area of novel analytical methods for food and environment. The topics of interest for submission include but are not limited to:

  • Innovative food packaging materials;
  • Antioxidants and antimicrobial molecules;
  • Shelf-life studies;
  • Protein, peptides, and metabolites;
  • Micro- and nanoplastics;
  • Bacteria and viruses;
  • Analytical strategies against food adulteration and frauds;
  • Food traceability;
  • Water and air monitoring strategies;
  • Metrological approaches and method validation;
  • Analytical portable techniques;
  • Emerging food contaminants.

Dr. Chiara Portesi
Dr. Andrea Mario Giovannozzi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • food
  • environment
  • analytical methods
  • food safety
  • air, water, and soil pollution
  • micro- and nanoplastics

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 2557 KiB  
Article
Determination of Nonylphenol in a Highly Sensitive Chemiluminescent Immunoenzyme Assay of Natural Waters
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(5), 1685; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14051685 - 20 Feb 2024
Viewed by 374
Abstract
A competitive chemiluminescent immunoenzyme assay (CL-EIA) technique is proposed for the sensitive determination of one of the environmentally significant toxicants of anthropogenic origin-nonylphenol—in natural waters. The chosen chemiluminescent detection is characterized by a higher sensitivity compared to the colorimetric. The limit of nonylphenol [...] Read more.
A competitive chemiluminescent immunoenzyme assay (CL-EIA) technique is proposed for the sensitive determination of one of the environmentally significant toxicants of anthropogenic origin-nonylphenol—in natural waters. The chosen chemiluminescent detection is characterized by a higher sensitivity compared to the colorimetric. The limit of nonylphenol detection was 9 ng/mL compared to 55 ng/mL for colorimetric one in optimal conditions. The developed analysis can be used for two purposes; it is highly sensitive for the possibility of toxicological analysis and dilution of complex matrices with raw buffer solution, as well as for the analysis of water samples without pretreatment and dilution. The method has a working range from 28 to 1800 ng/mL. The degree of nonylphenol revealing in the spiked samples of river, spring, and waterfall water was 82–119%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Analytical Methods Applied to Food and Environment)
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15 pages, 6019 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Small Micro-and Nanoparticles in Antarctic Snow by Electron Microscopy and Raman Micro-Spectroscopy
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 1597; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14041597 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 543
Abstract
The impact of the anthropic activities in Antarctica is a concerning issue. According to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, attention has to be paid to the next-generation contaminants deriving from both long-range atmospheric transport and local sources. In this study, the capabilities [...] Read more.
The impact of the anthropic activities in Antarctica is a concerning issue. According to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, attention has to be paid to the next-generation contaminants deriving from both long-range atmospheric transport and local sources. In this study, the capabilities of transmission electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and Raman micro-spectroscopy were exploited to evaluate the size, morphology, and chemical composition of small micro- and nanoparticles, as well as their aggregates, in surface snow samples collected during the 2020–2021 austral summer in the coastal area of Victoria Land near the Mario Zucchelli research station. The presence of biological particles, mineral dust, sea salts, and small carbonaceous and plastic micro- and nanoparticles was assessed. Sulfate, carbonate, and nitrate minerals were detected in all the samples, whereas polyethylene, poly(ethylene-co-vinyl-acetate), and different kinds of carbonaceous materials were predominantly identified in the samples closest to the research base. The presence of small micro- and nanoparticles containing heavy metals and plastic polymers in samples collected in the areas surrounding the Italian research base highlights the impact of anthropogenic activities on the polar environment, suggesting the need for continuous monitoring to evaluate possible threats to the delicate Antarctic ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Analytical Methods Applied to Food and Environment)
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13 pages, 3505 KiB  
Article
Innovative Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Method as a Fast Tool to Assess the Oxidation of Lipids in Ground Pork
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(9), 5533; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13095533 - 29 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 938
Abstract
A novel method for the determination of lipid oxidation using Raman microscopy was developed. A home-made surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrate based on silver nanoparticles deposited on a glass Petri dish was used. The degradation of ground pork stored at 5 °C was [...] Read more.
A novel method for the determination of lipid oxidation using Raman microscopy was developed. A home-made surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrate based on silver nanoparticles deposited on a glass Petri dish was used. The degradation of ground pork stored at 5 °C was monitored for 16 days. Two packages were considered: an active packaging containing an oregano extract with antioxidant properties and a conventional one consisting of a low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film. The lipid fraction of the ground pork was extracted with a mixture of diethyl ether/n-hexane (1:1). A remarkable maximum signal enhancement factor of 1.64 × 107 at 1439 cm−1 shift (and up to 8.58 × 106 at 1655 cm−1, chosen for fat oxidation assessment) was obtained with SERS compared to conventional Raman. In addition, SERS provided better discrimination among samples than the results obtained by the thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) method. The experimental conditions for SERS were optimized and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Analytical Methods Applied to Food and Environment)
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12 pages, 2134 KiB  
Article
Development of a Quantitative Colour-Based Software Method to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Active Antioxidant Packaging on Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(1), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13010301 - 26 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1369
Abstract
A software-based procedure consisting of colour measurement of mushrooms was developed for assessing the effectiveness of a new antioxidant active packaging. As active agents, sodium metabisulphite combined with citric acid, green tea extract combined with α-tocopherol and purple carrot extract were evaluated. After [...] Read more.
A software-based procedure consisting of colour measurement of mushrooms was developed for assessing the effectiveness of a new antioxidant active packaging. As active agents, sodium metabisulphite combined with citric acid, green tea extract combined with α-tocopherol and purple carrot extract were evaluated. After obtaining the image of mushrooms with a conventional flatbed scanner, a MATLAB code was specially designed to obtain and compare histograms. Then, data were processed using principal component analysis (66% of the accumulated variance explained) and a successful classification of samples according to their age and antioxidant system was obtained. The developed procedure greatly exceeded the discrimination capabilities of other commonly used methods such as CIE L*a*b* (which was unable to find any significant difference between blank and antioxidant-treated mushrooms; L*blank = 70 ± 3; L*metabisulphite = 75 ± 5; L*green tea = 75 ± 5; L*carrot = 69 ± 5) and visual panel (where only sodium metabisulphite sample was perceived to be significantly different from the rest of the samples, with 27 positive votes out of 50). The developed method classified correctly up to 90% of blank samples according to their age. Besides, 100% and 70% of the mushrooms treated with sodium metabisulphite and green tea, respectively, were found to be fresher than their corresponding blanks. Among samples with sodium metabisulphite, 33% behaved as one-day blank samples, and 67% acted as 4-day blank samples, while among samples with green tea, 10% were found in the 1-day group, and 60% were found in the 4-day group. In contrast, purple carrot proved to be inefficient as an antioxidant. Thus, the difference between blank mushroom samples and those treated with antioxidants was objectively measured. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Analytical Methods Applied to Food and Environment)
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20 pages, 2878 KiB  
Article
Characterisation of Refined Marc Distillates with Alternative Oak Products Using Different Analytical Approaches
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(17), 8444; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12178444 - 24 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1174
Abstract
The use of oak barrel alternatives, including oak chips, oak staves and oak powder, is quite common in the production of spirits obtained from the distillation of vegetal fermented products such as grape pomace. This work explored the use of unconventional wood formats [...] Read more.
The use of oak barrel alternatives, including oak chips, oak staves and oak powder, is quite common in the production of spirits obtained from the distillation of vegetal fermented products such as grape pomace. This work explored the use of unconventional wood formats such as peeled and sliced wood. The use of poplar wood was also evaluated to verify its technological uses to produce aged spirits. To this aim, GC-MS analyses were carried out to obtain an aromatic characterisation of experimental distillates treated with these products. Moreover, the same spirits were studied for classification purposes using NMR, NIR and e-nose. A significant change in the original composition of grape pomace distillate due to sorption phenomena was observed; the intensity of this effect was greater for poplar wood. The release of aroma compounds from wood depended both on the toasting level and wood assortment. Higher levels of xylovolatiles, namely, whisky lactone, were measured in samples aged using sliced woods. Both the NIR and NMR analyses highlighted similarities among samples refined with oak tablets, differentiating them from the other wood types. Finally, E-nose seemed to be a promising alternative to spectroscopic methods both for the simplicity of sample preparation and method portability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Analytical Methods Applied to Food and Environment)
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Review

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12 pages, 403 KiB  
Review
DNA Barcoding as a Plant Identification Method
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 1415; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14041415 - 08 Feb 2024
Viewed by 435
Abstract
In the last two decades, plant taxonomy has bloomed, following the development of a novel technique, namely, DNA barcoding. DNA barcodes are standardized sequences, ideally unique, coding or non-coding, either from the genome of the organism or from its organelles, that are used [...] Read more.
In the last two decades, plant taxonomy has bloomed, following the development of a novel technique, namely, DNA barcoding. DNA barcodes are standardized sequences, ideally unique, coding or non-coding, either from the genome of the organism or from its organelles, that are used to identify/classify an organismal group; in short, the method includes amplification of the DNA barcode, sequencing and comparison with a reference database containing the relevant sequences from different species. In plants, the use a universal DNA barcode, such as COI, which is used in animals, has not been achieved so far. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the progress made in DNA barcoding within the field of plant taxonomy. It highlights the success of various barcode loci, the emergence of super barcodes from the chloroplast genome, and the overall impact of next-generation sequencing technologies on the field. The discussion of different approaches reflects the ongoing efforts to refine and optimize DNA barcoding techniques for plants, contributing to the advancement in our understanding of plant biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Analytical Methods Applied to Food and Environment)
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26 pages, 1914 KiB  
Review
PFAS: A Review of the State of the Art, from Legislation to Analytical Approaches and Toxicological Aspects for Assessing Contamination in Food and Environment and Related Risks
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 6696; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13116696 - 31 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4841
Abstract
More than 7000 synthetic compounds known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are applied to food packaging and other materials to provide fat, fire, and/or water resistance properties. These compounds have exceptional environmental stability and persistence due to the strong C-F chemical bond, [...] Read more.
More than 7000 synthetic compounds known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are applied to food packaging and other materials to provide fat, fire, and/or water resistance properties. These compounds have exceptional environmental stability and persistence due to the strong C-F chemical bond, earning them the moniker “forever chemicals”. Emission of PFAS from industrial waste leads to water, air, and soil contamination. Due to this ubiquitous nature, combined with the fact that PFAS in humans are known to have carcinogenic and reprotoxic effects and to cause vaccine resistance and depression of the immunity system, PFAS may constitute a major threat to human health. For this reason, the attention of the scientific community and of control bodies is increasing and as a consequence legislation and the scientific literature on PFAS are constantly evolving. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the state of the art about current legislation addressing PFAS; targeted and screening method for identification, detection and quantification of PFAS; toxicity of PFAS; and contamination of environmental and food matrices and from food contact matrices. A comprehensive review of the latest scientific research and recent developments in the legislation of PFAS will provide insights into the current understanding of PFAS and its health implications. Moreover, it will serve as a valuable reference for further studies related to PFAS and could help in informing future policy decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Analytical Methods Applied to Food and Environment)
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