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Application of Single Particle ICP-MS for the Determination of Inorganic Nanoparticles in Food Additives and Food: A Short Review



Katrin Loeschner, Monique Johnson, Antonio Montoro Bustos


Due to enhanced properties at the nanoscale, nanomaterials (NMs) have been incorporated into foods, food additives, and food packaging materials. Knowledge gaps related to (but not limited to) the fate, transport, bioaccumulation, and toxicity of nanomaterials have led to an expedient need to expand research efforts in the food research field. While classical techniques can provide information on dilute suspensions, these techniques sample a low throughput of nanoparticles (NPs) in the suspension and are limited in the range of the measurement metrics so orthogonal techniques must be used in tandem to fill in measurement gaps. New and innovative characteri-zation techniques have been developed and optimized for employment in food nano-characterization. Single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, a high-throughput nanoparticle characterization technique, capable of providing vital measurands of NP-containing samples such as size distribution, number concentration, and NP evolution, has been employed as a characterization technique in food research since its inception. Here we offer a short, critical review highlighting existing studies that employ spICP-MS in food research with a particular focus on method validation and trends in sample preparation and spICP-MS meth-odology. Importantly, we identify and address areas in research as well as offer insights into yet to be addressed knowledge gaps in methodology.


inorganic nanoparticles, single particle ICP-MS, food, food additives, sample collection, sample preparation, method validation


Loeschner, K. , Johnson, M. and Montoro Bustos, A. (2023), Application of Single Particle ICP-MS for the Determination of Inorganic Nanoparticles in Food Additives and Food: A Short Review, Nanomaterials, [online],, (Accessed May 30, 2024)


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Created September 12, 2023, Updated September 28, 2023