Analytical approaches for the characterization and quantification of nanoparticles in food and beverages
Estimating consumer exposure to nanomaterials (NMs) in food products and predicting their toxicological properties are necessary steps in the assessment of the risks of this technology. To this end, analytical methods have to be available to detect, characterize and quantify NMs in food and materials related to food, e.g. food packaging and biological samples following metabolization of food. The challenge for the analytical sciences is that the characterization of NMs requires chemical as well as physical information. This article offers a comprehensive analysis of methods available for the detection and characterization of NMs in food and related products. Special attention was paid to the crucial role of sample preparation methods since these have been partially neglected in the scientific literature so far. The currently available instrumental methods are grouped as fractionation, counting and ensemble methods, and their advantages and limitations are discussed. We conclude that much progress has been made over the last 5 years but that many challenges still exist. Future perspectives and priority research needs are pointed out.