Basically the concept of NanoLyse is to merge the technologies which are available for engineered nanoparticles (ENP) analysis in other disciplines, e.g. materials and environmental sciences, into the analytical strategies and procedures characteristic for the food safety area, taking into account the very specific physico-chemical properties of nanoparticles as compared to their macro-scale or dissolved analogues.
A current analytical strategy in food safety is a dual approach comprising screening (fast, qualitative) and confirmatory (high standard, quantitative) methods. Screening methods are designed to sort out negative samples in a fast, cost-efficient, automated high-throughput approach. The samples identified as suspect positives are subjected to a more sophisticated method which allows the unambiguous identification and quantification of the target analytes.
NanoLyse adopts this approach by the development of two levels of methods:
(i) imaging and screening methods for a rapid decision on the presence of ENP in food samples and
(ii) methods for the full identification, characterisation and quantification of ENP in food.
Rapid analysis will be achieved in WP2 by electron microscopy (EM) imaging as well as by two screening assays: a sensor assay for automated high-throughput analysis and an immunoassay in ELISA format for direct implementation of ENP analysis even in basic food laboratories. For the precise characterisation and quantification the most suitable separation (i.e. flow field fractionation, hydrodynamic and size exclusion chromatography) and detection techniques (e.g. EM and mass spectrometry) will be coupled into hyphenated methods in WP3 (inorganic ENP) and WP4 (organic ENP). The developed methods will be validated using the well characterised food matrix reference materials that will be produced within the project WP1.
The project is structured into four RTD and two supporting workpackages. All WPs are closely linked with each other to ensure maximum synergies. WP1 will supply all method developers with characterised ENP dispersions and test and reference materials for method development and validation. All method development WPs (2-4) will especially in the first phase of the project collaborate very closely on the sample preparation via the respective inter-WP working group (WG). In the same way WP 3 and WP4 will collaborate on the analytical separation techniques. All RTD WPs (1-4) will contribute to the dissemination and training activities which are organised by WP5. WP6 will supply all information necessary for the successful execution of the project to all WPs and collect all data needed for the regular reporting and the monitoring of the progress of work.