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Posted: February 16, 2007
In Denmark, nanotechnology risk research is part of food science
(Nanowerk News) A merger between Denmark's National Food Institute and The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is intended to contribute to completely new solutions across traditional lines of demarcations.
The food research is to learn from the 'hard' science research disciplines such as nanotechnology and nuclear proliferation. This is one of the objectives for DTU to establish a centre for foods across eight existing institutes as well as the Risø National Laboratories. The new centre, Food-DTU, will be established to strengthen and further develop the research from Denmark's National Food Institute. The objective will be to ensure that the various research sectors co-operate on solutions within the food sector, among others.
The original DTU institutes for Chemical Technique, Production and Management, Informatics and Mathematical Modelling, Micro and Nanotechnology as well as Biocentrum will be included in Food-DTU. The centre will be located at DTU in Lyngby where researchers from the various institutes all over the country can meet.
Currently, there are two projects on nanomaterials at the National Food Institute:
Analytical characterization of nanoparticles
The hypothesis is that the mere nanometer size of matter, and its associated large surface area, may lead to adverse effects in living organisms including humans. Therefore health risk assessment of nanomaterials is of importance. The specific scope of this project is to develop and apply methodologies for nanoparticle recovery, detection of their chemical composition and determination of their size and surface area. The methods will be applied to particles in suspension or dosed to biological materials such as cell-lines or living animals. The project will test methods to extract or liberate nanosized matter from food contact materials or from cells.
Engineered and designed nanoparticles may pose a potential risk to human health and to the environment. The availability of results from relevant and systematic cross-disciplinary research is poor. Physico-chemical characterization and quantification should be incorporated among other parameters. It is mandatory to gain systematic knowledge before we are able to assess risk to humans and to the environment. The main purpose of this networking project is to establish a forum to gain and share such knowledge.