Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Development of chromatographic methods for determination of micronutrients and some other organic compounds with biological activity

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.04.05  Natural sciences and mathematics  Chemistry  Analytical chemistry 

Code Science Field
P300  Natural sciences and mathematics  Analytical chemistry 
food, dietary supplements, plant materials, micronutrients, polyphenols, carotenoids, triterpenoids, phytosterols, vitamins, plant enzymes, chromatography, mass spectrometry, thin-layer chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, gas chromatography
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (11)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  29488  PhD Alen Albreht  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2008 - 2009  125 
2.  12667  PhD Miloš Barut  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2009  206 
3.  24077  PhD Peter Brne  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2009  28 
4.  27847  PhD Boštjan Gabor  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2009  27 
5.  28562  PhD Vesna Glavnik  Plant production  Junior researcher  2007 - 2009  172 
6.  26511  PhD Mitja Martelanc  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2007 - 2009  68 
7.  01095  PhD Mirko Prošek  Chemistry  Researcher  2007 - 2009  406 
8.  15461  PhD Breda Simonovska  Plant production  Researcher  2007 - 2009  246 
9.  00779  PhD Aleš Štrancar  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2007 - 2009  479 
10.  27846  PhD Lidija Urbas  Pharmacy  Researcher  2007 - 2009  49 
11.  11395  PhD Irena Vovk  Chemistry  Head  2007 - 2009  558 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  21,357 
2.  1655  Sartorius BIA Separations L.t.d., Separations technology company  Ajdovščina  1319612  1,179 
Nowadays we are more and more aware of the importance of micronutrients in nutrition. Food quality closely linked with the content of micronutrients in fruits and vegetables depends first of all on the selection of sorts, production and processing technologies and storing technology before and after processing. The influence of these factors can be monitored by analytical methods based on the recent achievements in the field of chromatography. For this reason the aim of our project will be development of chromatographic methods for determination of organic micronutrients, which are or should be the ingredients of our everyday diet. Due to our knowledge and experiences, as well as the published data about biological activities we will focus on the methods for determination of compounds from the groups of carotenoids, polyphenols, triterpenoids, phytosterols and vitamins. We will also investigate plant cell wall degrading enzymes, which can substantially increase the yield of extraction of plant material. Due to the complex issue different procedures and techniques (high-performance liquid chromatography, thin-layer chromatography and gas chromatography) will be used. We will use the newest achievements in the field of chromatographic materials (e.g. monolithic stationary phases and others, which will appear during the progress of the project) and miniaturisation in the field of columns and the use of solvents. A combination of chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques (MS, NMR, etc.) will also be used for structural elucidation of compounds that are not available as standards. Developed methods will be tested on different types of samples (food products, dietary supplements, fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants, industrial processing waste of plant origin, etc.). Methods will be used for further investigations (interdisciplinary projects, European projects) and also for the routine analysis in food industry (quality control of raw materials and final products), agronomy, pharmaceutical industry, clinical chemistry and other related fields. This project will first of all contribute to the analytics of micronutrients, however the acquired knowledge about the selected compounds (extractability, stability in the extracts and in pure form, etc.) and the composition of natural extracts could be used as a basis for the new products in the field of functional food and dietary supplements.
Significance for science
Our investigations contributed new scientific knowledge to the world treasury of knowledge about analytics of selected organic micronutrients and related compounds and also about their spectroscopic (MS, NMR) and other features of compounds from the groups of triterpenoids, phytosterols, carotenoids, proanthocyanidins and naphtoquinones. Additionally, ten compounds were identified for the first time: nine shikonin derivatives present in the medicinal plant Echium italicum L. and triterpenol lupeol present in the epicuticular wax of white cabbage Brassica oleracea L.. We developed several procedures for the isolation of the following compounds from tomato fruits:enzymes pectin methylesterase and polygalacturonase and triterpenol ?-amyrin Several analytical methods for determination of triterpenoids, shikonin derivatives, lycopene, lutein and proanthocyanidins were developed. We introduced a new optimized dipping detection reagent with 4-dimetylaminocinnamaldehyde, which is more specific and gives more stable chromatographic bands and lower limits of detection for proanthocyanidins. All described achievements were published in scientific papers international journals with IF or presented at the international symposia.
Significance for the country
The results of investigations in the field of analytics of organic micronutrients and related compounds have further increased our possibilities of networking with other research institutions (interdisciplinary projects, European projects) and also with companies (especially SMEs) in Slovenia and in other countries. The developed methods can be used for routine analysis in the laboratories for food processing industries (e.g. control of raw materials and final products), agriculture (sort selection), pharmacy and other related fields, as well as for the needs of the regulatory organs. The acquired knowledge about the properties of the selected micronutrients (extractability, stability in the extracts and in pure form, etc.) and the composition of natural extracts could be used as a basis for the new products in the field of functional food and food supplements. Development of new applications on monolithic chromatographic materials produced by the company BIA Separations and reporting about them in scientific journals stimulates the development of new chromatographic materials and contributes to the promotion of the company. The use of monolithic columns for the specific applications triggers further research and optimization of monolithic columns (from the point of view of the basic monolith structure and surface chemistry as well as from the point of view of the column geometry). In this way, the oriented application research may result in the development of novel columns, with which the target niche market can be addressed. By successfully addressing the niche market it would be possible to increase the revenues of the company thus enabling further growth and development of a high-tech Slovene company. The project is also important in terms of education, since several young researchers are involved. Additionall, some of the developed methods will help the Slovenian agencies to perform better control of the food supplements available on the Slovenian market.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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