National Research Council of Italy - Articles and news items

LCMS as a reliable tool for monitoring food allergens contamination

Issue 2 2012  •  1 May 2012  •  Linda Monaci, National Research Council of Italy (ISPA-CNR)

Food allergen research has considerably expanded its field of interest in recent years probably due to the increasing incidence of food allergies throughout the population. According to the last legislation issued on this issue, there is a current trend to develop reliable methods tailored to the detection of food allergens for routine-like applications. Lately, MS-based methodologies have attracted the interest of researchers owing to the great potentials offered by this technology, the ability to perform multi-allergen screening in food products. The MS approach is currently being adopted by the allergen detection community, proving to be a valid alternative to ELISA and PCR methods. MS methodologies applied to food allergen detection are herein presented. There has been an increasing interest in the field of food allergy in the last few decades probably due to the wide spread of this pathology throughout the population, especially affecting industrialised countries. A food allergy is defined as an abnormal immunological reaction (Ig-E and non-IgE-mediated) triggered by the ingestion of a food or food additive also known as ‘food allergen’. The mechanisms by which a person develops an allergy to specific foods are largely unknown. However, there is accumulated evidence that the early colonisation of the intestinal tract by an appropriate intestinal microbiota is important for the healthy maturation of the immune system with an appropriate programming of oral tolerance to dietary antigens. Whether an individual becomes sensitised or tolerant to an allergen depends on the timing and dose of the allergen as well as the route of exposure…

Novel processed food packaging challenges

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Nathalie Gontard, Valérie Guillard, Miguel Mauricio Iglesias, Stéphane Peyron & Sana Raouche Joint Research Unit Agropolymers Engineering and Emerging Technologies – UMR 1208 Montpellier SupAgro, INRA and Salvatore Iannace, Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials, National Research Council of Italy and Giuseppe Mensitieri & Ernesto Di Maio, Dept. of Materials and Production Engineering, University of Naples Federico II

In the last few years, the fast development of novel processing methods for food preservation to improve safety, quality and shelf life of packaged foods gave place to important gaps of knowledge that must be filled in the area of suitable packaging materials. In particular, in the European Project NovelQ (FP6-CT-2006-015710), the effect of novel processing technologies, such High Pressure (HP) as well as microwave (MW) heating on the performances and structural integrity of several types of packaging materials has been investigated along with issues related to food/packaging interactions. HP treatment is steadily gaining as a food preservation method that maintains the natural sensory and nutritional attributes of food, extending shelf life with minimal quality loss. It consists of applying high pressure (typically in the 300-800 MPa range over a period of several minutes) to packaged foodstuff to greatly reduce the number of microorganisms and also to deactivate enzymes by mechanical action. HP pasteurisation is conducted at 25 – 40°C while HP sterilisation is conducted at 90 – 110°C. We discuss here some relevant issues addressed in the NovelQ project related to the effect of HP treatments on packaging materials in terms of mechanical resistance of packaging structures, of the possible reduction of their functional properties (e.g. barrier properties) and of possible migration and scalping phenomena of small molecules in conventional plastic, novel biodegradable and nano – composite packaging materials. Moreover, in this contribution we also report on packaging/ food interaction during MW heating of packaged foodstuff…


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