Methods for detecting, characterizing, and quantifying nanomaterials released from packaging into food simulants

Measurement of migration of materials from food contact materials to food is a step in the determination of food safety.  Minimum detection quantities can determine whether a component of a food contact material must undergo full evaluation as though it were an intentional direct food additive.  Migration of nanomaterials from food packaging into food matrices may require new methods to assure appropriate detection and quantification.
The aim of Task Group 4 is to provide an evaluative overview of:
  1. Studies that detect and characterize nanomaterial migration into food, and
  2. Methods to detect and characterize nanomaterial migration into food, including methods that have not yet been used in this way.  The methods will primarily focus on currently used and practical methods.
The Task Group will also provide discussion of any issues with respect to detection of nanoparticles and characterization of attributes of significance for potential uptake of nanoparticles in the alimentary tract.  In particular, are detection limits sufficient and characterization methods appropriately quantitative with respect to understanding nanoparticles dose as released from food to the alimentary tract?
Some aspects of the Task Group 4 evaluation of existing models may overlap with Task Group 1 (Material Characteristics).

ENM Uptake in Alimentary Canal

 Methods for detecting, characterizing, and quantifying nanomaterials in gut model systems

There are a number of model systems available for simulating the physico-chemical transitions and fate of materials under varying conditions in the alimentary tract lumen and uptake of materials from the alimentary tract.  The model systems range from simple flasks with gastric fluid to complex sequential simulated environments and to cell, tissue, and organ culture.  These systems have potential utility as models to measure potential for uptake of nanoparticles by the body along the alimentary tract and are the topic of Task Group 3.  However, to be useful for nanomaterials these modeling systems will need to incorporate particle detection and characterization methods in fluid and tissue matrices that extend to the nanoscale range.  Many of these methods are likely to be new or in development, however, some methods may be well established and not recognized as “nano-capable” methods.  Still other methods may need modification to allow them to be useful for nanomaterial detection and characterization.

 The aims of Task Group 4 are to:
  1. Provide an evaluative overview of the analytical methods that are or may be useful for detection and characterization of nanoparticles in these systems.
  2. Identify gaps in the methods or methods development needs with respect to measuring nanoparticles and their transitions in the alimentary tract.

 Examples of methods would include, for example

  1. Resolution of rates of dissolution and aggregation of particles
  2. Detection of particles of a particular composition in tissue matrices or fluids, and
  3. Quantification of particles of particular characteristics in tissue matrices or fluids.
The Task Group 4 evaluation of existing models will necessarily overlap with the Task Group 2, “Gut Environment” and Task Group 3, “Gut Models” so close coordination of these groups will be necessary.  Some experts may choose to serve on more than one of these task groups.