Among the equipment that needs to be purchased, most important are: equipment for microwave decomposition/digestion, ball mill, freezer, press, and ultracentrifuge. The laboratory also contains typical equipment for sample preparation: scales, ultrasonic baths, thermostatic baths, shakers, chemical hoods, heat treatment ovens, etc. The laboratory endowment, in order to prepare the appropriate standard samples, amounts up to ~ 12.5 million RON and it is designed to serve the whole laboratory and to ensure minimum facilities necessary to conduct operations related to food processing or testing.
In addition, these devices can also be used to study the influence of random, natural or processing factors on food.
Atomic force microscope it's a versatile device that can be configured to detect specific components by changing the cantilever and immobilizing compounds for molecular recognition of genes, bacteria, etc.
All microscopy equipment of this laboratory (SEM, TEM, AFM and RAMAN) are intended to serve the safety and food security. A proof of the need to extend the range of analysis is the European and national concern (at research stage, at this time). The recently finished prospective study NANOPROSPECT, with UPB as partner, draws the attention on the need to evaluate the influence of nanoparticles on living organisms, considering the fact that one of the sources of introduction of nanoparticles in the human body is food. Preliminary studies were already undertaken in the thesis or research projects handled by the platform 3MN.
Also, in European Union were, and are expected to be continued, financing programs regarding the safety and security of food (FP7-SIINN has recently been launched and the submission of projects can be completed on October 31, 2013).
This method will be applied as such, or after prior separation analysis using liquid chromatography. Infrared spectroscope is dedicated to the determination of organic compounds in food (also analyzed as such or after prior chromatographic separation).
Chromatographic techniques are basic techniques in the analysis of complex samples because they allow the separation of the mixture and can be coupled with appropriate analytical techniques (mass spectrometry is perhaps the most versatile general method), allowing the precise identification of compounds and their content.
This new laboratory will have an equipment set worth ~6.73 million RON. The equipment will be designed specifically to identify and quantity toxic compounds in food, compounds degradation of analytes, and to determine fakes and quality control (checking compliance of food).
New laboratory sums up to ~ 6.03 milion RON and it's unique in Romania by means of techniques used and performance achieved. Both of these proposed techniques are known for food applications and are having a clear benefit compared to some other techniques, as will be described below.
The X-ray fluorescence device is intended to be used to purchase maps for distribution of elements as in many cases (fruit, vegetables etc.). There are large inhomogeneities, some of which are due to the accumulation of various elements toxic to the body. Obviously this will be complementary to other techniques such as SEM-EDS and FTIR microscopy.
Because of these universal detectors, the equipment can provide important information on purity, degree of hydration/dehydration, degree of carbonation, food integrity etc.
In general, this technique can be applied for the analysis of solids, semi-solids or liquids, from beverages (including volatiles) to flour products, dairy or meat products.
This technique is very useful especially for dry goods, whose properties are strongly correlated with the size and surface charge. In the case of food, dissolving and extraction of parts of interest (colorants, flavors etc.) it's proportional to the size. The fine particles are the ones that release faster these components (e.g. for coffee, it results a more intense flavor, in case of alcoholic beverages that are made from grain the processing time may decrease and the effect it's positive, and in the case of sweeteners the solubilization time increases, etc.), while in the case of coarse particles the processes are much slower.
It is also known that some liquid aliment scan lead, over time, to the appearance of deposits (soft drinks and juices, tomato paste, various natural colloids, processed oil, honey, etc.). These can be warning signals for the quality of products and particularly, for the safety and security of their use, especially if dimensional characteristics are accompanied by surface changes. In the case of proteins, the technique can be used to determine the molecular weight and molecular weight distribution.
Currently accredited laboratories in Romania perform microbiological analysis of food by classical methods, which are based on direct evidence of microbial species called microbiological indicators –whom presence indicates the risk of existing other biological contaminants, including pathogens, in aliments. These methods require the isolation and identification of microbiological parameters using special media and techniques for identifying biochemical and/or serological standardized. However, there can be determined many biological factors (e.g. potentially pathogenic microorganisms, antibiotic-resistant microorganism), viruses or biochemical factors (for example various microbial toxins or products derived from microbial metabolism) that can not be detected by conventional methods.
This laboratory aims to develop and apply new methods for detection of microbiological contaminants in food by using latest tools and techniques. Modern methods used will complement traditional techniques and include:
a. Isolation of a wider range of microorganisms, including intractable in foods;
b. Identifying microorganisms isolated using advanced methods of microscopy and automated/semi-automated biochemical and immunological methods made in rapid microvolume analysis of large numbers of samples or variants;
c. Demonstration of nucleic acids (DNA, RNA) specific to different organisms by PCR (polymerase chain reaction), qRT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Quantitative Real-Time PCR), followed or not by migrating amplification products in agarose gel - for accurate discrimination of taxons or families, classes, species of microorganisms directly from contaminated food and molecular typing by sequencing or Western Blott;
d. Using TLC (Thin Layer Chromatography) as a method for rapid and efficient identification of microorganisms in foods;
e. Characterization of potential pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance profiles of microbial strains isolated from food:
i. highlight the profile of antibiotic resistance by phenotypic and molecular methods (disc diffusion method, E-test, highlighting microdilution minimum inhibitory concentration method, PCR)
ii. determining virulence characters to highlight the potential pathogenic isolates from food (eg, assessing the ability of cell adhesion to the substrate and inert, producing biofilms, produce toxins and enzymes, PCR).
f. Developing new areas and food packaging with antimicrobial properties.