Many pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, etc. have been misused for farming and food production purposes. Consequently, an excessive amount of these substances can contaminate our food supply chain and pose a serious threat to human health such as early puberty in children, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancers. This project will exploit the low-cost ink-jet printing technology to print nanomaterials on paper matrix to produce substrates for surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectroscopy that allow the rapid detection of some selected common toxins in food and drink e.g. phenolic hormones (estrogens), dioxin, aflatoxin, bisphenol A, etc. The scientific and technical objectives are:
Synthesis of optically active silver and gold nanomaterials for SERS-based analysis
Establishment and optimization of ink-jet printing technology for a rapid and low-cost printing of the nanomaterials on papers
Development of a robust chemometric analysis framework for a reliable detection of the toxins.
Validation and assessment of the inkjet-printed nanomaterials-based device for the toxin detection in food and drink samples.
Successful outcome of the project will generate a portable tool for low-cost, sensitive and specific detection of food toxins, contributing to improving food safety which is becoming one of the biggest challenges of our times globally.
Skills/specific experience required by applicants:
Essentially, the project requires the applicants to have basic skills and knowledge in:
Instrumental food bioanalysis
Fit-for-purpose validation of biological and chemical biosensing platforms
Desirably, the applicants are expected to have skill and knowledge in at least one of the below research areas:
Synthesis and characterizations of nanomaterials
Ink-jet printing technology for printing nanomaterials
Multivariate data analysis
UK and EU students are eligible to apply. Information on eligibility criteria is available from DfE: View Website
International applicants are welcome to apply, as additional funding may become available to cover fees at the higher rate.