In a statement, ISEP says that portable sensor and biosensor platforms to quantify 'in loco' and at low cost the emerging contaminants in fishery products and waters are being developed by researchers as part of the CECs (Bio)Sensing project.

“As Portugal is one of the countries of the European Union that has the highest consumption of fish, it is imperative to control the quality and safety of fishery products, in particular the most appreciated species in our country, such as sardines, mackerel and salmon”, he says.

ISEP reminds that the bioaccumulation of contaminants by aquatic organisms is increasingly “a threat to public health”.

“The common medications that we use in our day-to-day and that are excreted through the urine end up contaminating rivers and seas, without being controlled by methods or technologies to eliminate them”, says the institute.

Quoted in the statement, Simone Morais, the project's principal investigator, points out that currently "there are no routine analysis methods for most compounds", since the methodologies are "very expensive".

“This project have high socio-economic and environmental benefits. The fast and reliable results, coming from the platforms, support key decisions regarding the management of fish products, resulting in greener and more efficient production processes”, assures the researcher.

In addition to detecting emerging contaminants, the project can leverage “great savings”, as it allows for the assessment of the quality of the product and to decide whether or not sale it.

The developed platforms, which respond to consumer trends and preferences such as quality, safety and social responsibility, may be used by producers, processors, distributors and regulatory authorities.

“The knowledge acquired in this project can be applied to other food sectors”, guarantees the ISEP.

The CECs (Bio)Sensing project started in July 2018 and should be completed in July next year.

Coordinated by researchers from REQUIMTE-LAQV, the project has as partners the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) and the Federal University of Ceará, in Brazil.

The project is co-financed by the Operational Program for Competitiveness and Internationalization (POCI) and the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), and the component of the Federal University of Ceará is financed by the Cearense Foundation for Support to Scientific and Technological Development (FUNCAP).