Major food adulteration and contamination events occur with alarming regularity and are known to be episodic, with the question being not IF but WHEN another large-scale food safety/integrity incident will occur. The challenges of maintaining food security are recognized internationally, with the ever-increasing scale and complexity of food supply networks leading to these networks becoming significantly more vulnerable to fraud and contamination, thus increasing the potential for dysfunctionality.
As recently reviewed by us (Ellis et al. 2012) there are many analytical techniques that have been used for the analysis of food for establishing authentication, adulteration, provenance as well as detecting food spoilage and pathogens. However, most of these are laboratory-based measurements which mean transporting the sample to the instrument. This major constraint needs to be addressed and it would be better if samples can be analysed directly on site, so that appropriate action can be taken in a timely manner.
Raman and infrared spectroscopy are emerging as rapid on-site methods (so called “capable guardians”) that allow “point-and-shoot” measurements (Ellis et al. 2015), and this PhD project is to explore the application of these methods for assessing the safety, provenance and integrity of feeds/foods/food ingredients.
In our research group we develop Raman and infrared for food security and applications and results can be seen on our website (http://biospec.net/publications/) and recent examples include: portable through bottle authentication of olive oil; the detection of the adulteration of coconut water; the detection of fake spirit drinks and quantification of methanol added to spirits; and the detection and enumeration of food pathogens on food, amongst other studies.
Rather than prescribe which areas to focus on, this PhD will be proactive and horizon scan for current and up and coming areas that are threating the integrity of our food supply chains.
PhD Project Outputs.
- Horizon scanning of new food security threats.
- The assessment of a wide variety of Raman and infrared approaches that are either already portable or portablisable.
- The incorporation of multivariate data analysis and ‘machine learning’ algorithms to for unequivocal identification of food fraud.
- The validation of this combined methodology.
- On-site testing of the delivered spectroscopy solutions.
Qualifications and Experience:
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Biochemistry, Chemistry or a related field. Candidates with a master’s degree in a related area/subject, and experience in analytical sciences within biology are encouraged to apply.
Please note the English Language Requirement for EU Students is an IELTS score of 6.5 with no band score lower than 5.5.
For application enquires please contact Roy Goodacre (email@example.com).
To apply please send CV and a cover letter to Roy Goodacre (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Open to UK applicants
This PhD project is fully funded.
This opportunity is available to home candidates.
Ellis, D.I., Brewster, V.L., Dunn, W.B., Allwood, J.W., Golovanov, A.P. & Goodacre, R. (2012) Fingerprinting food: current technologies for the detection of food adulteration and contamination. Chemical Society Reviews 41, 5706-5727.
Ellis, D.I., Muhamadali, H., Haughey, S.A., Elliott, C.T. & Goodacre, R. (2015) Point-and-shoot: rapid quantitative detection methods for on-site food fraud analysis – moving out of the laboratory and into the food supply chain. Analytical Methods 7, 9401-9414.
Many others here: http://biospec.net/publications/