The laboratory will include the necessary equipment to prepare the samples that need to be processed in optimum conditions. Because in many cases the results are strongly influenced by the processing of samples, the standardized/approved/recognized methods require the precise conditions of determination for a specific technique, for the saple preparation and even for the processing of results.

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.

The laboratory will contain complementary equipment, in adition to the already existing one in our department (equipment worth ~20.66 million RON: HR-TEM, FTIR microscope, preparing samples equipment). The laboratory will be equiped with an AFM microscope and modules featured for all types of food samples, and SEM and TEM microscopes with their specific detectorsneeded for the analysis of biological samples.The most important ones are the X-ray detector, essential for both electronic microscopy techniques, and EELS detector - mainly used to identify light elements with Z ≥ 4 (Be).

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).

The laboratory will contain equipment worth ~48 million RON, and the main equipment considered is the mass spectrometer with inductively coupled plasma, for the evaluation of the content of metal ions or their complexes in various foods. It is well known that heavy metals are a real concern, because they can be accumulated in plants and animals and may jeopardize these species, or even worse, can reach the human bodyt hrough the food chain. Because of the various forms in which these metals can be found, toxicity can vary considerably and a speciation is required.

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).

The laboratory will contain four major equipments, related to four high performance equipments: liquid chromatograph coupled with mass spectrometer (LC-MS), gas chromatograph coupled with mass spectrometer (GC-MS), gas chromatograph coupled with an isotope ratio mass spectrometer(GC-IRMS), capillary electrophoresis and liquid chromatograph with fraction collector for quantitative separations.

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).

It is a crucial laboratory for various solid foods. The X-ray diffraction equipment for very small angles and photon detection it's specially designed for all food containing crystalline phases or crystalline domains and it's intended for a wide range of food products: fiber, protein, sugars / carbohydrates etc. The technique it's complementary to the X-ray diffraction techniques existing in the UPB (and can be used if the application requires broader range of techniques) and may be a very useful tool in determining the quaternary structure of the protein. X-ray fluorescence is used for detection of certain elements in food at concentrations of up to tens of ppm (where standards require will be done eventually some preconcentration, sample digestion, mineralization, thermal decomposition and so on).

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.

This laboratory will contain an important equipment resulted from the coupling of modules such as thermo-gravimetric analyzer and FTIR, respectively MS, allowing advanced characterization of certain foods.

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.

Size, poly-dimensionality and the surface charge of particles are essential features for a wide range of foods and drinks.The establishment of the laboratory is totaling ~0.83 million RON. These features may be related to long-term stability, the degree of aglomeration and hydration, sensory characteristics (flavor, aesthetics etc.).

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.

Microbiological assessment is essential for a full range of food (including traditional food, food supplements and special foods). In this respect it will be purchased the specific equipmentfor microbiology laboratories but also devoted to DNA analysis, RNA or proteins, in general for the unambiguous identification of the nature of the food (protein) and the degree of distortion. Investment of this lab sums up to ~ 3.97 million RON.

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.

„This report does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Union or the Romanian Government”

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