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Special Issue "Interdisciplinary Approach to Improve AgriFood Safety and Quality"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Francesca Serio
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Hygiene, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technology University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Interests: agri-food quality; food safety; applied hygiene; public health; food hygiene; environmental sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Antonella De Donno
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Interests: public health; environmental health; epidemiology; water, air and food pollution
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The agri-food sector covers the supply chain extending from farm production to processing and marketing of the final products. At the same time, concerns about farmers' and consumers' health and safety, as well as strong social pressures for environmentally friendly production practices, highlight the necessity for the adoption and wide dissemination of quality management schemes in the sense of conforming to certain standards.

Certification, quality and safety of the agri-food products, in fact, characterize what consumers seek and require from producers. Therefore, ensuring agri-food safety and quality is a public health priority, and an essential step for achieving food security. Food safety and quality management systems are the most important goals to achieve in order to protect health and well-being of people. Since the use of an interdisciplinary approach is essential, this Special Issue requires documents which demonstrate the important role that the integrated and multidisciplinary perspective can play in relation to food safety problems with a vision of Food Hygiene, Public Health, Environmental Sciences, Food Chemistry, Economics, and/or others themes. The aim of this Special Issue is to collect innovative papers deriving from different and complementary expertises concerning “AgriFood Safety and Quality”. We invite researchers to contribute both with original research articles, as well as reviews focused on safeguarding agri-food safety and quality. Moreover, the research interest should concern principally prevention of human health risks by improving nutraceutical characteristics through the application of innovative analytic methods as metabolomics and use of genotoxic and mutagenic biomarkers. Thus, I’d like to invite you to submit manuscripts to this Special Issue in order to tackle the problem of food safety in the current globalized world where it should be balanced with food security and risk assessment.

Dr. Francesca Serio
Prof. Antonella De Donno
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • food safety/security
  • public health
  • environmental hygiene
  • food chemistry
  • metabolomics
  • genotoxicity
  • innovative analytical methods
  • sustainability
  • economics

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
The Water Safety Plan Approach: Application to Small Drinking-Water Systems—Case Studies in Salento (South Italy)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4360; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18084360 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 869
Abstract
Background: The quality of water for human consumption is an objective of fundamental importance for the defense of public health. Since the management of networks involves many problems of control and efficiency of distribution, the Water Safety Plan (WSP) was introduced to address [...] Read more.
Background: The quality of water for human consumption is an objective of fundamental importance for the defense of public health. Since the management of networks involves many problems of control and efficiency of distribution, the Water Safety Plan (WSP) was introduced to address these growing problems. Methods: WSP was applied to three companies in which the water resource assumes central importance: five water kiosks, a third-range vegetable processing company, and a residence and care institution. In drafting the plan, the terms and procedures designed and tested for the management of urban distribution systems were applied to safeguard the resource over time. Results: The case studies demonstrated the reliability of the application of the model even to small drinking-water systems, even though it involved a greater effort in analyzing the incoming water, the local intended use, and the possibilities for managing the containment of the dangers to which it is exposed. This approach demonstrates concrete effectiveness in identifying and mitigating the dangers of altering the quality of water. Conclusions: Thanks to the WSP applied to small drinking-water systems, we can move from management that is focused mainly on verifying the conformity of the finished product to the creation of a global risk assessment and management system that covers the entire water supply chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Approach to Improve AgriFood Safety and Quality)
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Article
Pro-Apoptotic Activity of Artichoke Leaf Extracts in Human HT-29 and RKO Colon Cancer Cells
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4166; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18084166 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1091
Abstract
(1) Background: Cynara cardunculus L. subsp. scolymus (L.) Hegi, popularly known as artichoke, is an herbaceous plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. Artichoke leaf extracts (ALEs) have been widely used in traditional medicine because of their hepatoprotective, cholagogic, hypoglycaemic, hypolipemic and antibacterial properties. [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Cynara cardunculus L. subsp. scolymus (L.) Hegi, popularly known as artichoke, is an herbaceous plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. Artichoke leaf extracts (ALEs) have been widely used in traditional medicine because of their hepatoprotective, cholagogic, hypoglycaemic, hypolipemic and antibacterial properties. ALEs are also recognized for their antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activities. In this study, we evaluated the cytotoxic, genotoxic, and apoptotic activities, as well as effect on cell growth of ALEs on human colon cancer HT-29 and RKO cells. HT-29 and RKO cells exhibit a different p53 status: RKO cells express the wild-type protein, whereas HT-29 cells express a p53-R273H contact mutant. (2) Methods: Four different ALEs were obtained by sequential extraction of dried artichoke leaves; ALEs were characterized for their content in chlorogenic acid, cynaropicrin, and caffeoylquinic acids. HT-29 and RKO cells were used for in vitro testing (i.e., cytotoxicity and genotoxicity assessment, cell cycle analysis, apoptosis induction). (3) Results: Two out of the four tested ALEs showed marked effects on cell vitality toward HT-29 and RKO tumour cells. The effect was accompanied by a genotoxic activity exerted at a non-cytotoxic concentrations, by a significant perturbation of cell cycle (i.e., with increase of cells in the sub-G1 phase), and by the induction of apoptosis. (4) Conclusions: ALEs rich in cynaropicrin, caffeoylquinic acids, and chlorogenic acid showed to be capable of affecting HT-29 and RKO colon cancer cells by inducing favourable biological effects: cell cycle perturbation, activation of mitochondrial dependent pathway of apoptosis, and the induction of genotoxic effects probably mediated by the induction of apoptosis. Taken together, these results weigh in favour of a potential cancer chemotherapeutic activity of ALEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Approach to Improve AgriFood Safety and Quality)
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Article
Chemical Characterization and Quantification of Silver Nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) and Dissolved Ag in Seafood by Single Particle ICP-MS: Assessment of Dietary Exposure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4076; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18084076 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 925
Abstract
This study provides a first insight on the chemical characterization and quantification of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and dissolved Ag in processed canned seafood products, where food-grade edible silver (E174) is not intentionally added nor is the nanoparticle contained in the food contact material. [...] Read more.
This study provides a first insight on the chemical characterization and quantification of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and dissolved Ag in processed canned seafood products, where food-grade edible silver (E174) is not intentionally added nor is the nanoparticle contained in the food contact material. The aim was to evaluate the bioaccumulation potential of AgNPs and to contribute to the assessment of AgNPs and ionic Ag human dietary intake from processed seafood. It is known how seafood, and in particular pelagic fish, is a precious nutritional source of unsaturated fatty acids, protein, and different micronutrients. Nevertheless, it may cause possible health problems due to the intake of toxic compounds coming from environmental pollution. Among emerging contaminants, AgNPs are widely applied in several fields such as biomedicine, pharmaceutical, food industry, health care, drug-gene delivery, environmental study, water treatments, and many others, although its primary application is in accordance with its antimicrobial property. As a consequence, AgNPs are discharged into the aquatic environment, where the colloidal stability of these NPs is altered by chemical and physical environmental parameters. Its toxicity was demonstrated in in-vitro and in-vivo studies, although some findings are controversial because toxicity depends by several factors such as size, concentration, chemical composition, surface charge, Ag+ ions released, and hydrophobicity. The new emerging technique called single-particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (spICP-MS) was applied, which allows the determination of nanoparticle number-based concentration and size distribution, as well as the dissolved element. Our findings highlighted comparable mean sizes across all species analysed, although AgNPs concentrations partly follow a trophic level-dependent trend. The low mean size detected could be of human health concern, since, smaller is the diameter higher is the toxicity. Dietary intake from a meal calculated for adults and children seems to be very low. Although seafood consumption represents only a small part of the human total diet, our findings represent a first important step to understand the AgNPs dietary exposure of the human population. Further studies are needed to characterize and quantify AgNPs in a large number of food items, both processing and not, and where AgNPs are added at the industrial level. They will provide a realistic exposure assessment, useful to understand if AgNPs toxicity levels observed in literature are close to those estimable through food consumption and implement data useful for risk assessors in developing AgNPs provisional tolerable daily intake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Approach to Improve AgriFood Safety and Quality)
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Article
First Insight into Nutraceutical Properties of Local Salento Cichorium intybus Varieties: NMR-Based Metabolomic Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4057; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18084057 - 12 Apr 2021
Viewed by 994
Abstract
Background: Plants of genus Cichorium are known for their therapeutic and nutraceutical properties determined by a wealth of phytochemical substances contained in the whole plant. The aim of this paper was to characterize the metabolic profiles of local Salento chicory (Cichorium intybus [...] Read more.
Background: Plants of genus Cichorium are known for their therapeutic and nutraceutical properties determined by a wealth of phytochemical substances contained in the whole plant. The aim of this paper was to characterize the metabolic profiles of local Salento chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) varieties (“Bianca”, “Galatina”, “Leccese”, and “Otranto”) in order to describe their metabolites composition together with possible bioactivity and health beneficial properties. Methods: The investigation was performed by 1H-NMR spectroscopy and Multivariate Analysis (MVA), by which the metabolic profiles of the samples were easily obtained and compared. Results: The supervised Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) analysis showed as “Bianca” and “Galatina” samples grouped together separated by “Leccese” and “Otranto” varieties. A different content of free amino acids and organic acids was observed among the varieties. In particular a high content of cichoric and monocaffeoyl tartaric acid was observed for the “Leccese” variety. The presence of secondary metabolites adds significant interest in the investigation of Cichorium inthybus, as this vegetable may benefit human health when incorporated into the diet. Conclusions: The 1H-NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy) based characterization of Salento chicory varieties allowed us to determine the potential usefulness and nutraceutical properties of the product, also providing a method to guarantee its authenticity on a molecular scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Approach to Improve AgriFood Safety and Quality)
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Article
Effect of Trade Openness on Food Security in the EU: A Dynamic Panel Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4311; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17124311 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1223
Abstract
The problem of food insecurity is growing across the world, including economically developed countries. In Europe, the question is not just about the total supply of foods, but it includes even the accessibility of prices and their nutritional and qualitative adequacy. In this [...] Read more.
The problem of food insecurity is growing across the world, including economically developed countries. In Europe, the question is not just about the total supply of foods, but it includes even the accessibility of prices and their nutritional and qualitative adequacy. In this context many countries recognize the importance of trade policies to ensure adequate levels of food security. The aim of this work was to analyze the impact of trade openness on the level of food security in European countries, using a dynamic panel analysis with the generalized method of moments (GMM) approach. We selected two different indicators of food security (average protein supply, average dietary energy supply adequacy) capable of offering information both on the quantity and on the nutritional quality of the food supply. In order to improve the robustness of the empirical results, we developed three different regressions, with three trade openness indicators (trade openness, tariff, globalization) for each food security indicator. The results showed that commercial opening has, on average, a statistically significant net positive impact on the food security of European countries. Additional results indicate that also economic development, together with the importance of the agricultural sector, can improve food security levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Approach to Improve AgriFood Safety and Quality)
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Article
Food Identities, Biocultural Knowledge and Gender Differences in the Protected Area “Sierra Grande de Hornachos” (Extremadura, Spain)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2283; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17072283 - 28 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1390
Abstract
A food tradition not only corresponds to the vital need to be nourished every day, but is part of the particularity of a territory as a consequence of its history, traditions, natural heritage, and capacity for ecological and social resilience. In the search [...] Read more.
A food tradition not only corresponds to the vital need to be nourished every day, but is part of the particularity of a territory as a consequence of its history, traditions, natural heritage, and capacity for ecological and social resilience. In the search for culinary identity, a valorization of a rural territory of high identity potential is carried out, such as in the environmental protection area “Sierra Grande de Hornachos” (Extremadura, Spain), and specifically the town of Hornachos. For this purpose, a series of workshops and interviews were held for men and women who had lived most of their lives in Hornachos and who were older than 70. Information on the food uses of wild and cultivated plants, as determined by the Cultural Significance Index (CSI) for 79 species, was extracted from the interpretation of the data collected. In addition, new uses were collected in Extremadura for 16 plants and in Spain for 3, with some of these data being of particular significance in the culinary culture of Hornachega. We conclude that the area “Sierra Grande de Hornachos” forms an environment of great culinary identity that must be preserved, not only for its heritage interests but also for its agroecological ones, which could be translated into measures of wealth creation and development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Approach to Improve AgriFood Safety and Quality)
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