Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis

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 (30 June 2020) | Viewed by 40595

Special Issue Editors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

“Man is What He Eats”: Food represents one of the fundamental needs for human beings, and therefore, food analysis is a field of utmost importance. At the same time, given its inherent complexity, this subject encompasses multiple aspects, e.g., safety of use, health requirements, compliance to laws, organoleptic characteristics, and consumer’s acceptance, often intertwined. For instance, a study could aim at developing an analytical platform for the protection of consumers, or rather be more centered on deeply understanding the characteristics of specific foodstuffs and the effects after their consumption.

In this context, spectroscopy is a suitable tool for food analysis, as it is versatile (different spectral regions provide different and often complementary information on the same set of samples), it is relatively rapid and, in general, cheap if compared to other instrumental techniques, it is almost always nondestructive or, at least, microdestructive, and in many cases, it can even be non-invasive and require minimum sample manipulation or pretreatment, thus representing a green alternative to other state-of-the-art methods. Moreover, if coupled with imaging/microscopic techniques, it can provide information not only about the average quantity/concentration but also about the distribution of constituents within the matrix. 

Based on these considerations, this Special Issue aims at collecting studies describing interesting/relevant problems in food analysis and, ideally, suggesting strategies for solving/handling them. The submitted papers can encompass different aspects and scopes: authenticating and/or characterizing aliments, detecting frauds, and ensuring law/sanitary compliance. Additionally, since chemometrics plays a fundamental role in the application of spectroscopic techniques to food-related issues, papers dealing with new data processing approaches suitable for overcoming specific issues in the spectroscopic analysis of food samples are also more than welcome.

Dr. Federico Marini
Dr. Alessandra Biancolillo
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 189 KiB  
Editorial
Special Issue “Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis”
by Alessandra Biancolillo and Federico Marini
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(9), 3860; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11093860 - 24 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1183
Abstract
“Man is what he eats”: food represents one of the fundamental needs for human beings, and, therefore, food analysis is a field of utmost importance [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis)

Research

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12 pages, 1224 KiB  
Article
Multiblock Analysis Applied to TD-NMR of Butters and Related Products
by Jean-Michel Roger, Silvia Mas Garcia, Mireille Cambert and Corinne Rondeau-Mouro
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(15), 5317; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10155317 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2267
Abstract
This work presents a novel and rapid approach to predict fat content in butter products based on nuclear magnetic resonance longitudinal (T1) relaxation measurements and multi-block chemometric methods. The potential of using simultaneously liquid (T1L) and solid phase (T [...] Read more.
This work presents a novel and rapid approach to predict fat content in butter products based on nuclear magnetic resonance longitudinal (T1) relaxation measurements and multi-block chemometric methods. The potential of using simultaneously liquid (T1L) and solid phase (T1S) signals of fifty samples of margarine, butter and concentrated fat by Sequential and Orthogonalized Partial Least Squares (SO-PLS) and Sequential and Orthogonalized Selective Covariance Selection (SO-CovSel) methods was investigated. The two signals (T1L and T1S) were also used separately with PLS and CovSel regressions. The models were compared in term of prediction errors (RMSEP) and repeatability error (σrep). The results obtained from liquid phase (RMSEP 1.33% and σrep 0.73%) are better than those obtained with solid phase (RMSEP 5.27% and σrep 0.69%). Multiblock methodologies present better performance (RMSEP 1.00% and σrep 0.47%) and illustrate their power in the quantitative analysis of butter products. Moreover, SO-Covsel results allow for proposing a measurement protocol based on a limited number of NMR acquisitions, which opens a new way to quantify fat content in butter products with reduced analysis times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis)
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14 pages, 3337 KiB  
Article
Authentication of Sorrento Walnuts by NIR Spectroscopy Coupled with Different Chemometric Classification Strategies
by Luigi Amendola, Patrizia Firmani, Remo Bucci, Federico Marini and Alessandra Biancolillo
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(11), 4003; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10114003 - 09 Jun 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3216
Abstract
Walnuts have been widely investigated because of their chemical composition, which is particularly rich in unsaturated fatty acids, responsible for different benefits in the human body. Some of these fruits, depending on the harvesting area, are considered a high value-added food, thus resulting [...] Read more.
Walnuts have been widely investigated because of their chemical composition, which is particularly rich in unsaturated fatty acids, responsible for different benefits in the human body. Some of these fruits, depending on the harvesting area, are considered a high value-added food, thus resulting in a higher selling price. In Italy, walnuts are harvested throughout the national territory, but the fruits produced in the Sorrento area (South Italy) are commercially valuable for their peculiar organoleptic characteristics. The aim of the present study is to develop a non-destructive and shelf-life compatible method, capable of discriminating common walnuts from those harvested in Sorrento (a town in Southern Italy), considered a high quality product. Two-hundred-and-twenty-seven walnuts (105 from Sorrento and 132 grown in other areas) were analyzed by near-infrared spectroscopy (both whole or shelled), and classified by Partial Least Squares-Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA). Eventually, two multi-block approaches have been exploited in order to combine the spectral information collected on the shell and on the kernel. One of these latter strategies provided the best results (98.3% of correct classification rate in external validation, corresponding to 1 misclassified object over 60). The present study suggests the proposed strategy is a suitable solution for the discrimination of Sorrento walnuts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis)
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11 pages, 1248 KiB  
Article
FTIR-ATR Spectroscopy Combined with Multivariate Regression Modeling as a Preliminary Approach for Carotenoids Determination in Cucurbita spp.
by Natalia Quijano-Ortega, Carlos Alberto Fuenmayor, Carlos Zuluaga-Dominguez, Consuelo Diaz-Moreno, Sanín Ortiz-Grisales, Maribel García-Mahecha and Silvia Grassi
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(11), 3722; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10113722 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4418
Abstract
Quantitative analysis of carotenoids has been extensively reported using UV-Vis spectrophotometry and chromatography, instrumental techniques that require complex extraction protocols with organic solvents. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) is a potential alternative for simplifying the analysis of food constituents. In this work, the [...] Read more.
Quantitative analysis of carotenoids has been extensively reported using UV-Vis spectrophotometry and chromatography, instrumental techniques that require complex extraction protocols with organic solvents. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) is a potential alternative for simplifying the analysis of food constituents. In this work, the application of FTIR with attenuated total reflectance (ATR) was evaluated for the determination of total carotenoid content (TCC) in Cucurbita spp. samples. Sixty-three samples, belonging to different cultivars of butternut squash (C. moschata) and pumpkin (C. maxima), were selected and analyzed with FTIR- ATR (attenuated total reflectance). Three different preparation protocols for samples were followed: homogenization (A), freeze-drying (B), and solvent extraction (C). The recorded spectra were used to develop regression models by Partial Least Squares (PLS), using data from TCC, determined by UV-Vis spectrophotometry. The PLS regression model obtained with the FTIR data from the freeze-dried samples, using the spectral range 920–3000 cm−1, had the best figures of merit (R2CAL of 0.95, R2PRED of 0.93 and RPD of 3.78), being reliable for future application in agriculture. This approach for carotenoid determination in pumpkin and squash avoids the use of organic solvents. Moreover, these results are a rationale for further exploring this technique for the assessment of specific carotenoids in food matrices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis)
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8 pages, 771 KiB  
Article
Identification and Quantification of Turmeric Adulteration in Egg-Pasta by Near Infrared Spectroscopy and Chemometrics
by Alessandra Biancolillo, Angela Santoro, Patrizia Firmani and Federico Marini
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(8), 2647; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10082647 - 11 Apr 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2814
Abstract
“Egg pasta” is a kind of pasta prepared by adding eggs in the dough; the color of this product is often associated to its quality, as it is proportional to the quantity of egg present in the dough. A possible adulteration on this [...] Read more.
“Egg pasta” is a kind of pasta prepared by adding eggs in the dough; the color of this product is often associated to its quality, as it is proportional to the quantity of egg present in the dough. A possible adulteration on this product is represented by the addition of turmeric (not reported in the label) in the dough. The inclusion of this ingredient (which is minimal, given the strong coloring power of this spice) fraudulently accentuates the yellow color of the product, making it more attractive to the consumer. Given this scenario, the aim of the present work is to develop an analytical approach suitable at detecting the presence of turmeric as an adulterant in egg pasta. One hundred samples of traditional and adulterated egg pasta were analyzed by NIR spectroscopy and PLS-DA (Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis) in order to discriminate adulterated and compliant pasta. The classification model provided a total correct classification rate of 97.5% in external validation (40 samples). Eventually, the adulterant was quantified by PLS. This strategy provided satisfying results, achieving a RMSEP (Root Mean Square Error in Prediction) of 0.112 (%-w/w) in external validation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis)
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19 pages, 3496 KiB  
Article
Discrimination of Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) Accessions Collected in Majella National Park (Abruzzo, Italy) Using Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy and Chemometrics Combined with Morphological and Molecular Analysis
by Francesca Di Donato, Valter Di Cecco, Renzo Torricelli, Angelo Antonio D’Archivio, Marco Di Santo, Emidio Albertini, Fabio Veronesi, Raffaele Garramone, Riccardo Aversano, Giuseppe Marcantonio and Luciano Di Martino
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(5), 1630; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10051630 - 29 Feb 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2776
Abstract
Development of local plant genetic resources grown in specific territories requires approaches that are able to discriminate between local and alien germplasm. In this work, three potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) local accessions grown in the area of Majella National Park (Abruzzo, Italy) [...] Read more.
Development of local plant genetic resources grown in specific territories requires approaches that are able to discriminate between local and alien germplasm. In this work, three potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) local accessions grown in the area of Majella National Park (Abruzzo, Italy) and five commercial varieties cultivated in the same area were characterized using 22 morphological descriptors and microsatellite (SSR) DNA markers. Analysis of the DNA and of the plant, leaf, flower, and tuber morpho-agronomic traits allowed for a reliable discrimination of the local potato accessions, and provided a clear picture of their genetic relationships with the commercial varieties. Moreover, infrared spectroscopy was used to acquire a fingerprint of the tuber flesh composition. A total of 279 spectra, 70% of which were used in calibration and the remaining 30% for prediction, were processed using partial least squares discriminant analysis. About 97% of the calibration samples and 80% of the prediction samples were correctly classified according to the potato origin. In summary, the combination of the three approaches were useful in the characterization and valorization of local germplasm. In particular, the molecular markers suggest that the potato accession named Montenerodomo, cultivated in Majella National Park, can be considered a local variety and can be registered into the Regional Voluntary GR Register and entered into the foreseen protection scheme, as reported by the Italian regional laws. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis)
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9 pages, 5034 KiB  
Article
Detection of Aflatoxins B1 in Maize Grains Using Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
by Thanh Binh Nguyen, Thi Bich Vu, Hong Minh Pham, Cao Son Tran, Hong Hao Le Thi and Ngoc Thuy Vo Thi
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(5), 1578; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10051578 - 26 Feb 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3197
Abstract
Aflatoxins are secondary metabolites of Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. These fungal species are the most dangerous and common toxin group causing food contamination. Aflatoxin has high toxicity and can cause cancer to humans and animals. The quantitative detection of aflatoxin in [...] Read more.
Aflatoxins are secondary metabolites of Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. These fungal species are the most dangerous and common toxin group causing food contamination. Aflatoxin has high toxicity and can cause cancer to humans and animals. The quantitative detection of aflatoxin in food, therefore, plays a very important role. However, in practice, due to low concentrations, aflatoxin detection analysis methods need to be highly sensitive and simple to apply. In this report, the fluorescence resonance energy transfer method (FRET) adopts the donor–acceptor interaction of aflatoxin B1. The CdSe/ZnS quantum dot detection of aflatoxin B1 will be presented wherein the aflatoxin B1 concentration can be determined from the changes in fluorescence lifetime or fluorescence intensity. A fluorescence lifetime calibration curve versus aflatoxin B1 concentrations was established. Test results of aflatoxin B1 determination in maize in Vietnam by FRET method are consistent with the results of aflatoxin B1 determination by HPLC based on ppm concentration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis)
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14 pages, 5401 KiB  
Article
Screening of Carbamate and Organophosphate Pesticides in Food Matrices Using an Affordable and Simple Spectrophotometric Acetylcholinesterase Assay
by Aristeidis S. Tsagkaris, Leos Uttl, Jana Pulkrabova and Jana Hajslova
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(2), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10020565 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 7217
Abstract
Carbamates (CMs) and organophosphates (OPs) are widely used pesticides with known neurotoxicity arising from the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). When AChE is active, in vitro, it can hydrolyze certain substrates to colored products while in the presence of an inhibitor this color development [...] Read more.
Carbamates (CMs) and organophosphates (OPs) are widely used pesticides with known neurotoxicity arising from the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). When AChE is active, in vitro, it can hydrolyze certain substrates to colored products while in the presence of an inhibitor this color development is decreased. Based on this principle, an AChE assay for CM and OP compounds was optimized and validated for carbofuran, carbofuran-3-hydroxy and dichlorvos in lettuce and strawberry extracts. The analytical performance of the assay was confirmed by an accredited liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) method. The developed AChE assay achieved low limits of detection (LODs) at the part per billion (ppb) level, depending the analyte inhibitory strength, recovery rates higher than 70% and good repeatability. Moreover, the toxic unit (TU) approach was applied, for extracts containing the validated analytes, and antagonism was noticed in all cases. Overall, the developed method is rapid, simple, cost-effective and may find application as a low-cost pre-screening tool of AChE inhibitors presence. Last but not least, this study can be considered a guide on development, validation and benchmarking of bioassays in food safety, a topic, which is commonly mispresented in the available literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis)
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11 pages, 510 KiB  
Article
Low Level of Allergens in the Argentinean Plant Zuccagnia punctata Cav.: Screening and Quality Control of North-Western Propolis Using an LC-DAD-QTOF System
by Eliana Rita Solorzano, Iole Maria Di Gangi, Marco Roverso, Gabriella Favaro, Sara Bogialli and Paolo Pastore
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(17), 3546; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9173546 - 29 Aug 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2418
Abstract
North-western Argentinean propolis (NAP), having promising bioactivity, was recently included into the National Food Code. Zuccagnia punctata Cav., a native shrub of north-western Argentina, is one of the prevalent botanical sources of NAPs, but no information on its allergenic constituents was available [...] Read more.
North-western Argentinean propolis (NAP), having promising bioactivity, was recently included into the National Food Code. Zuccagnia punctata Cav., a native shrub of north-western Argentina, is one of the prevalent botanical sources of NAPs, but no information on its allergenic constituents was available so far. A liquid chromatography-diode array detector -quadrupole-time of flight system (LC-DAD-QTOF) was used as a screening method for the reliable identification of sensitizing agents belonging to caffeic acid derivatives in Z. punctata and in two NAPs collected in the provinces of Catamarca and Tucumán. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester, one of the most active allergens in propolis, was never detected in either Z. punctata or NAP. Among 31 sensitizers, only geranyl caffeate was alleged in Z. punctata as <10% of its major constituent, whereas three caffeic acid derivatives with strong allergenic effect, i.e., geranyl, pentenyl, and benzyl caffeates, occurred in NAP samples (29%–36% of the Z. punctata major constituent), indicating other minor botanical sources. However, the high content of chalcones and flavonoids ascribed to Z. punctata significantly contributes to the antiallergenic and antioxidant character of these NAPs. This peculiar chemical profile depends on the extremophile condition in which this shrub grows and suggests other studies to characterize such raw materials for oral and topical formulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis)
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Review

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34 pages, 500 KiB  
Review
Chemometric Strategies for Spectroscopy-Based Food Authentication
by Alessandra Biancolillo, Federico Marini, Cyril Ruckebusch and Raffaele Vitale
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(18), 6544; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10186544 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 55 | Viewed by 4833
Abstract
In the last decades, spectroscopic techniques have played an increasingly crucial role in analytical chemistry, due to the numerous advantages they offer. Several of these techniques (e.g., Near-InfraRed—NIR—or Fourier Transform InfraRed—FT-IR—spectroscopy) are considered particularly valuable because, by means of suitable equipment, they enable [...] Read more.
In the last decades, spectroscopic techniques have played an increasingly crucial role in analytical chemistry, due to the numerous advantages they offer. Several of these techniques (e.g., Near-InfraRed—NIR—or Fourier Transform InfraRed—FT-IR—spectroscopy) are considered particularly valuable because, by means of suitable equipment, they enable a fast and non-destructive sample characterization. This aspect, together with the possibility of easily developing devices for on- and in-line applications, has recently favored the diffusion of such approaches especially in the context of foodstuff quality control. Nevertheless, the complex nature of the signal yielded by spectroscopy instrumentation (regardless of the spectral range investigated) inevitably calls for the use of multivariate chemometric strategies for its accurate assessment and interpretation. This review aims at providing a comprehensive overview of some of the chemometric tools most commonly exploited for spectroscopy-based foodstuff analysis and authentication. More in detail, three different scenarios will be surveyed here: data exploration, calibration and classification. The main methodologies suited to addressing each one of these different tasks will be outlined and examples illustrating their use will be provided alongside their description. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis)
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13 pages, 787 KiB  
Review
How Fishy Is Your Fish? Authentication, Provenance and Traceability in Fish and Seafood by Means of Vibrational Spectroscopy
by Aoife Power and Daniel Cozzolino
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(12), 4150; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10124150 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 4851
Abstract
Food authenticity, traceability and provenance are emerging issues of major concern for consumers, industries and regulatory bodies worldwide. In addition, both food safety and security are an intrinsic component of food quality where the above issues are key in modern traceability and management [...] Read more.
Food authenticity, traceability and provenance are emerging issues of major concern for consumers, industries and regulatory bodies worldwide. In addition, both food safety and security are an intrinsic component of food quality where the above issues are key in modern traceability and management systems. It has been reported that substitution of a high-quality species by less expensive ones might be a frequent practice in seafood products such as fish and shellfish. In this type of products, the source (e.g., origin) and identification of the species are complex. Although different countries have implemented strict regulations and labelling protocols, these issues still are of concern. This article briefly reviews some of the most recent applications of vibrational spectroscopy (near and mid infrared, Raman) combined with chemometrics to target some of these issues in the seafood and fish industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Spectroscopy in Food Analysis)
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