Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Preventing stray chemicals in food, pharmaceutical and industrial products


Chemistry is big business. From medicine to food, industrial processes to environmental management, it is more important than ever before to know exactly which chemicals are present in our lives. With more sophisticated chemicals comes greater responsibility. Now a EUREKA project is helping companies the world over to comply with a new set of legally binding standards.

In the near future the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) will require companies to state just how reliable their chemical measurements are. As of 2002, a commercial software system is available to help chemists everywhere. It can assess the accuracy of the percentage contents listings of their products, or the risk of pesticide contamination in food and medicines.

Matthias Rösslein of Swiss-based project leader, the EMPA Research Institute, explains: "In the past, companies have already been challenged for uncertainty statements. In food control, for example, it is important to show that pesticides are really below a limit defined by government."

The MUSAC system will help companies to judge if they are in breach of chemical limit regulations. Rösslein says that these computer-based techniques would have been impossible to develop outside the EUREKA forum. "We had people from laboratories, programmers and those that understand measurement uncertainty. EUREKA brought them together under one roof. It was a new experience and it’s important that we undertake more interdisciplinary projects in the future."

Around 20 partners contributed to the MUSAC project. The finished software system gets a grip on measurement uncertainty in four easy steps. It asks for the quantities of each chemical and possible sources of uncertainty (such as changing lab temperatures) before calculating the margin of error and simulating uncertainty levels over the production base.

One method to measure uncertainty is illustrated by a plasma flame: if atoms like cadmium or iron are present, they are excited and then emit a very characteristic light.

So important is compliance with the new ISO standards that Nestlé is helping to commercialise the MUSAC system. According to Rösslein, "they are thinking about using this product in their labs worldwide".

Some of the MUSAC partners have put together a spin-off company to market the new software. MUSAC also provided the impetus for the development of a related system to quantify uncertainty in physical measurements, such as component length and electric current.

Nicola Vatthauer | alfa

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Fraunhofer FIT joins Facebook's Telecom Infra Project
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions
21.10.2016 | Stanford University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>