Particulate contamination in the form of nanoparticles (NPs) can occur not only in the environment but also in the food production chain, making human exposure almost inevitable. In the present study the potentialities of Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (ESEM-EDS) were exploited for the detection and visualization of inorganic NPs in air, raw materials and food products along the pasta production chain (wheat ear, wheat, semolina and pasta). Investigation of the elemental composition of NPs in the same samples was also carried out by using two independent techniques: ESEM-EDS and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). As for airborne particles, size-fractionated sampling was performed by an eight-stage cascade impactor located near the production plant with different exposition times for both ESEM-EDS and gravimetric analysis, respectively. In the case of raw materials and food products, the particles were collected on polycarbonate filters after immersion in milli-Q water in order to recover the NPs deriving from external environmental contamination. Only particle sizes lower than 0.8 µm were taken into consideration when ESEM-EDS analysis was carried out. NPs containing mainly Fe and Ti having dimensions < 0.15 µm were identified in the filters used for wheat ear, wheat, semolina and pasta samples. As for air monitoring, gravimetric analysis showed an increase in the concentration levels of total particles during winter, particularly in the case of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). ESEM-EDS analysis, performed on filters of the VII and final stages, evidenced the same trend observed by gravimetric analysis, the majority of Fe-containing NPs being detected.
ESEM-EDS-based analytical approach to assess nanoparticles for food safety and environmental control / MATTAROZZI, Monica; BIANCHI, Federica; MAFFINI, Monica; VESCOVI, Ferdinando; Catellani, Dante; Suman, Michele; CARERI, Maria. - In: TALANTA. - ISSN 0039-9140. - 196(2019), pp. 429-435. [10.1016/j.talanta.2018.12.093]
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