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Innovative Sensor for the fast Analysis of Nanoparticles in Selected Target Products . (INSTANT )

INSTANT project will face the challenge of the detection, identification and quantification of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) in complex matrices such as cosmetic products and engineered food and drinks.
In recent years, nanotechnology has been a hot topic in the scientific community, especially ENPs for their fascinating properties in a vast variety of areas. However, ENPs have drawn vast public attention due to their application in many consumer products (e.g. cosmetics, food and food packaging, drinks) for the impact in human health and the environment. Following the "Opinion of the Scientific Committee on the Potential Risks Arising from Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies on Food and Feed Safety" released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2009, the European Commission tackles this arising matter of public concern within the current FP7 NMP theme.
According to the risk concerns of ENPs, INSTANT will develop a fully integrated tool for the extraction of ENPs typically used in cosmetic products and engineered food and drinks and their subsequent detection and identification. A crucial point of measuring in these complex matrices is the sample preparation and extraction. Therefore INSTANT will develop and integrate tailored extraction methods. Especially the size distribution of ENPs and the influence of the matrix on chemical and physical properties of the ENPs have to be taken into account.
In conclusion, the INSTANT device will be tailored to be used as a cost-effective monitoring tool, allowing for analyses of food and cosmetics close to the point of need.

Universidad de Córdoba

New detection methods and technology are developed in order to design an innovative and integrated device for monitoring different types of ENPs in complex matrices. The project INSTANT is organized in a workflow using complementary expertise of well-known partners in their fields from all over Europe with the following objectives:
-Develop a simple and fully integrated system, combining sample preparation and microfluidics together with a suitable number of sensor elements for the detection and identification of ENPs.
-Combine two complementary label-free transduction principles (an optical and an electrochemical one) to create a robust sensor system providing high-content information about ENPs.
-Implement innovative recognition elements (REs) on electrochemical/optical transduction components using sieve effects of tailored carbon nanotubes (tCNTs) as well as affinity interaction capabilities of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs).



UCO will develop a generalized standard extraction protocol to isolate and pre-concentrate ENPs from food and cosmetic samples. UCO will improve and modify sampling and separation techniques with regard to the complex matrices utilizing ionic liquids and sieve effects of tCNTs in order to define an automatic sample treatment system. UCO will develop the interface to couple sample treatment with the microfluidics of the sensor. UCO will validate the INSTANT device and metrological characterization.



The deliverables of the project can be involved in seven main groups:
-1: Sensor array for the INSTANT device is developed. The combined optical and electrochemical sensor are developed and calibrated with reference ENPs.
-2: Sample preparation and standard materials are prepared. A generalized protocol for the extraction, preconcentration and selective elution of the ENPs is developed.
-3: Synthesis of the recognition elements based on molecularly imprinted polymers is developed.
-4: Integration of chemometric software for optical and electrochemical data is carried out.
-5: System integration of the device is performed. Based on previous developments, a final device assembly will be drafted and constructed.
-6: Involved in the management. Coordination in the overall financial, administrative, legal and contractual management of INSTANT is carried out.
-7: Involved in the exploitation and dissemination of results.

INSTANT targets three key issues of ongoing debate about nanomaterials, their safety, monitoring, and risk assessment:
- INSTANT will provide a powerful tool to researchers dealing with nanoparticles detection and characterization.
- With help of the INSTANT device, it will be possible to ensure to the consumer that the food/drinks and cosmetic products are either free of nanoparticles (if desired) or contains amounts and speciation of nanoparticles that are considered safe by the EU.
- With the development of the INSTANT device, the consortium delivers a tailor-made instrument to the legislative organs of the EU. This will be the device of choice to gather enough data about nanoparticles in different products and exposure of the consumer to these nanoparticles to help the decision-making process within the EU.
In addition to these three points, the developed device will enable the participating SMEs to take a leading role in the production and distribution of the next generation device for the detection of nanoparticles in all fields of applications.

Research Group on automation, simplification, miniaturization and quality of chemical and biochemical measurement processes

Code PAIDI: FQM-215

Miguel Valcárcel Cases. Partner. 

Universidad de Córdoba

Budget of Andalusian group: € 580,860.00 €

The INSTANT project is formed by ten participants described as follow:
-BIAMETRICS GMBH (BM) from Germany.
-SITEX 45 SRL (SITEX) from Romania.
-NANORDIC OY (NANO) from Finland.

Keywords: electro-optical sensor array, engineered nanoparticles, molecular imprinted polymers, carbon nanotubes, food, cosmetics.
Duration: 42 months. March, 1th 2012 to August, 31th 2015
Project cost: € 4,845,125.74 €