The research theme in the Metals, Minerals and Nanoparticles group is to monitor the occurrence and metabolism of toxic metals, essential minerals and nanoparticles in food and biological material. The strategy is to cover the theme in the value chain from primary production of food, via food production to uptake and excretion from humans or experimental animals.
In combination with calculations of the food-borne intake of metals, minerals and nanoparticles the results of our research contribute to provision of science-based advice to Danish and international authorities towards improvement of health and prevention of disease.
The Group’s special competences include detection, identification and quantitative chemical analysis of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain metals or minerals, or of engineered nanoparticles. The research takes place in collaboration with fellow researchers who have facilities for cell cultivation or plant production, or biobank material from human intervention trials.
A special focus area is application of enriched, stable isotopes of e.g. selenium applied to research of metabolic routes in plants or to uptake and metabolic fate in humans. From human intervention trials, we search for new biomarkers that can be used to predict risk of disease.
Our isotope-ratio mass spectrometry platform is used for authenticity research (declared geographical origin, cultivation form or raw materials) and the results contribute to establish a characteristic multivariable “chemical fingerprint”, which also relies on the pattern of metabolites in the tested food.
The members of the Group are highly skilled and specialized to operate our modern analytical equipment for separation (HPLC, GC) of organometallic compounds (containing selenium, arsenic, iodine, tin or mercury) and for separation (Field Flow Fractionation) of nanoparticles in food (silver, selenium, silica, gold, clays).
The methods of detection include mass spectrometry (ICP-MS, ESI-MS) for detection of chemical elements and molecules as well as light scattering (MALS, DLS) and electron microscopy for estimation of size and localization of nanoparticles in biological material.
Read about projects from the Metals and Minerals Group