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Se-speciation in real world food matrices: identification and the follow-up of the fate of Se-species in functional foods


The goal of this project is to develop qualitative and quantitative screening methods to identify and follow the fate of Se-species in Se-enriched functional foods. The interest behind the choice of selenium is driven by the state-of-the-art theoretical knowledge on its direct and indirect effects on cancer prevention that strongly depend on the given Se-species acting in in-vitro studies or in human metabolism.

Unfortunately, the actual distribution of Se-species in real world matrices is hardly known. The analysis of Se-containing or Se-enriched functional foods, a well-promoted part of innovative food products gives the possibility to analyse samples with challenging matrices and to characterise the Se-species that are putatively active in cancer prevention.

Among its main objectives the project includes the
- unambiguous identification of Se-species and their possible degradation products by the means of time-of-flight and hybrid triple quadrupole/linear ion trap mass spectrometry through accurate mass measurements and tandem MSn fragmentation studies,
- quantification of the Se-species by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) equipped with a collision cell,
- the synthesis of new Se-peptides for the quality control of sample preparation steps,
- time-resolved qualitative and quantitative monitoring of Se-species in selected functional food samples, ending up in the form of a database on the Se-species monitored.

An elegant method to detect and possibly identify all Se-species extracted from the samples will be the subsequent hyphenation of capillary flow HPLC separation based on reversed phase (RP) or hydrophilic interaction (HILIC) mechanisms to ICP-MS and to organic MS instrumentation.

The project will provide the possibility f or me to fully disseminate the experience gained during the initial fellowship in the field of organic mass spectrometry to the PhD and undergraduate students of the Host.

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