970012 Assessment of exposure to (bio-)chemical contaminants in foods

Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Rawn, Thea , Krska, Rudolf , Lemmens, Marc
Offered in
Wintersemester 2023/24
Languages of instruction


This lecture is dedicated to the challenges and trends in the
determination of some major food chemical contaminants and allergens,
which – amongst others - are being monitored by official food
authorities and for which background levels in food and human exposure
are being analyzed and calculated. Eleven different
contaminants/contaminant groups and allergens have been selected for
detailed discussion. Their occurrence in foods is either from use as a
food additive or ingredient, processing induced reactions, food
packaging migration, deliberate adulteration, and/or presence as a
chemical contaminant or natural toxin in the environment. These include
acrylamide as an example of a food-processing induced contaminant,
bisphenol A as an example of a food packaging derived chemical, melamine
and related compounds as an example of food adulteration and persistent
organic pollutants and perchlorate as examples of environmental
contaminants in foods. Ochratoxin A, fumonisins and paralytic shellfish
poisoning toxins are examples of naturally occurring toxins whereas
sulphites, peanuts, and milk exemplify common allergenic food
additives/ingredients. To deal with the increasing number of sample
matrices and analytes of interest, two analytical approaches have become
increasingly prevalent. The first has been the development of rapid
screening methods for various analytes based on immunochemical
techniques, utilizing ELISA or surface plasmon resonance technology.
The second is the development of highly sophisticated multi-analyte
methods based on liquid chromatography coupled with multiple-stage mass
spectrometry for the identification and simultaneous determination of a
wide range of contaminants, and often with much less requirement for
tedious clean-up procedures. While rapid screening methodologies permit
testing of large numbers of samples, the multi analyte mass
spectrometric methods allow for fully quantitative results with
confirmation of the analytes of interest. Both approaches are useful
when gathering surveillance data to determine occurrence and background
levels of both recognized and newly identified contaminants in foods in
order to estimate human daily intake for health risk assessment.

Previous knowledge expected

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

to be provided
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.