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"Metrology for Safe Food and Feed in Developing Economies" project

This project is designed to allow NMIs to work together to strengthen mycotoxin metrology infrastructure; provide knowledge transfer to scientists developing capabilities in this area, including periods as visiting scientists at the BIPM; and enable NMIs to provide mycotoxin calibrant and matrix reference materials and proficiency test materials to support mycotoxin testing laboratories within their countries.


  • Status:
    • The project has support from a number of NMIs who are providing scientific expertise and raw materials to the project. The technical activities at the BIPM will focus on Mycotoxin Calibrants, with the BIPM hosting visiting scientists from Participating NMIs, and providing appropriate training and knowledge transfer. Participating NMIs are required to cover the cost of seconding a scientist to the BIPM. Associated workshops and activities on Matrix Reference Materials and Analytical Methods for Mycotoxins are also being planned by NMIs supporting the project.

  • Dates:
    • The project began in 2016, with a start-up meeting, and the start of technical activities at the BIPM. Participating NMIs will be able to second staff to the BIPM for knowledge transfer purposes during 2017-2019. Workshops related to the project are being planned for 2018 and 2019.

  • Application process:
    • NMIs interested in participating or supporting the project should contact the BIPM for further information. Application as a participating NMI is open to NMIs/DIs from Countries and Economies with Emerging Metrology Systems and laboratory activities supporting food testing programmes.

    BIPM CB&KT programme

The project addresses the needs expressed during the 25th meeting of the CGPM (2014) for programmes at the BIPM to target the improvement of metrological capabilities in the developing world, and responds to the metrology needs in the developing world for food and feed analysis reported by AFRIMETS.

The issue of food safety and trade is a major concern for countries developing metrology and quality assurance systems. Ensuring the safety of food has been a major focus of international and national action over the last years. Both microbiological and chemical hazards are of concern, including the contamination of food and feed by mycotoxins (toxic metabolites of fungi), which are significant sources of food-borne illnesses. The knowledge that mycotoxins can have serious effects on humans and animals has led many countries to establish regulations on mycotoxins in food and feed in the last decades to safeguard the health of humans, as well as the economic interests of producers and traders. Over 100 countries have implemented specific regulatory limits for mycotoxins in foodstuffs and feedstuffs, and these need to be supported by a sound measurement infrastructure for mycotoxin analysis in order to enforce and verify products, protect populations and avoid technical barriers to trade in food stuffs. This project is designed to allow NMIs to work together to strengthen mycotoxin metrology infrastructure; provide knowledge transfer to scientists developing capabilities in this area, including periods as visiting scientists at the BIPM; and enable NMIs to provide mycotoxin calibrant and matrix reference materials and proficiency test materials to support mycotoxin testing laboratories within their countries.


  • Activities at the BIPM:

  • Characterization of pure mycotoxin materials, stock and calibration solutions

    Methods to value assign the purity of mycotoxin materials and mass fraction content of stock and calibration solutions will be developed. The following mycotoxins have been chosen for the project (the years indicate when the value assignment work will be undertaken):

    1. Zearalenone (2016-2017)
    2. Aflatoxin B1 (2016-2017)
    3. Patulin (2018-2019)
    4. Deoxynivalenol (2018-2019)

    Knowledge transfer on mycotoxin pure material, stock solution and calibration solution value assignment

    A visiting scientist programme will be developed and implemented covering knowledge transfer on mycotoxin standard preparation, value assignment, stability and homogeneity testing methods.

    Visiting scientists will be provided with value-assigned stock solutions enabling their home institutes to develop and validate calibration solution preparation and value assignment facilities.

    Coordination of international comparisons on mycotoxin calibrations solutions

    The BIPM will coordinate international comparisons to enable participating NMIs/DIs to demonstrate compatibility of their capabilities for the production and value assignment of mycotoxin calibrations solutions. Each participating NMI shall be required to submit ampoules of the calibrations solutions they have produced for comparison measurements at the BIPM.

    Support of NMI programmes for mycotoxins in food

    The BIPM will work to facilitate strengthened support collaborative programmes amongst NMIs developing mycotoxin capabilities to ensure that the capabilities and knowledge developed in this project can be effectively disseminated, through:

    • Facilitating meetings between NMIs developing or wishing to develop mycotoxin standards and measurement programmes and support metrology programmes in the developing world;

    • Facilitating a programme of staff exchange between participating NMIs to accelerate knowledge transfer and method development;

    • Contributing to project knowledge transfer workshops, including information and knowledge transfer on Mycotoxin Calibrants.
  • Participation:
  • The knowledge transfer secondments at the BIPM are open to visiting scientists from NMIs/DIs of Member States and Associates that:

    • have laboratories for organic analysis/reference materials and are developing Mycotoxin Metrology Programmes;
    • commit to participating in comparisons of mycotoxin calibration solutions coordinated by the BIPM;
    • commit to sending a visiting scientist to the BIPM for a minimum of three months and have funding to cover the scientists' salary, insurance and living costs for this period.

    The visiting scientist should

    • have practical experience in organic analysis relevant to the secondment to be undertaken;
    • have a working knowledge of English (instruction and documentation will be provided in English).

    NMIs/DIs wishing to participate in the project should contact the BIPM for further information.

    Participation is also open to NMIs/DIs with developed metrology infrastructure for Mycotoxin Standards and Analysis, and this is foreseen in a number of ways:

    • providing financial support for the project, including support funds for visiting scientists from economies with emerging metrology infrastructure;
    • providing and funding experienced scientists from their institutes to undertake secondments at the BIPM and support laboratory knowledge transfer activities;
    • participating in comparisons to demonstrate their own capabilities and aid in setting the reference value;
    • supporting workshops to help disseminate the outputs of the project.

    NMIs/DIs wishing to participate in the project should contact the BIPM for further information.


  • Financial Support:
  • The BIPM would like to thank the following institutes for providing financial support for the project:

    • NIM, China (provision of pure mycotoxin materials and 3 man years of NIM expert visiting scientist time to support BIPM laboratory activities)

    • PTB, Germany (support for 3 month secondments of visiting scientists from: INTI, Argentina (2017); INMETRO, Brazil (2017); KEBS, Kenya (2017); NIMT, Thailand (2017))

    • UME, Turkey (provision of 3 months of UME expert visiting scientist time to support BIPM laboratory activities)

    • NMISA, South Africa (support for 4 months of NMISA visiting scientist time to participate in project)

    NMIs/DIs interested in providing financial support the project should contact the BIPM for further information.

In this project the following visiting scientist secondment opportunities exist at the BIPM, each of minimum duration of 3 months.

    Knowledge Transfer and Skills Broadening Secondments

    The secondments are described either as:

    1. Training Scondments (TS), where the focus is on knowledge transfer, and the visiting scientist will receive coaching/supervision throughout the period of the secondment;
    2. or
    3. Skills broadening Secondments (SBS), where the visiting scientist has sufficient experience to work more autonomously, develop methods for use in the project, and help coach scientists following the Training Secondment programme.

    The goals of the different secondments are described below.

    TS 1: Q-trap on pure mycotoxin

    To develop knowledge and practical experience on the implementation of LC-MS methods for the accurate quantification of related structure impurities in pure mycotoxin materials (primary reference materials).

    TS 2: LC-UV, LC-CAD on pure mycotoxin

    To develop knowledge and practical experience on the implementation of LC-UV and LC-CAD methods for the accurate quantification of related structure impurities in pure mycotoxin materials (primary reference materials).

    TS 3: EA, TGA, KF, SB and GC-VOCs on pure mycotoxin

    To develop knowledge and practical experience on the implementation of Elemental analysis, Thermal Gravimetric Analysis, Karl Fisher Titration, Sorption Balance, and VOC analysis methods for the accurate quantification of non-related structure impurities in pure mycotoxin materials (surrogate materials).

    TS 4: Calibration solution preparation and value assignment

    To develop knowledge and practical experience on the preparation, value assignment, homogeneity and stability testing of mycotoxin stock and calibration solutions.

    SBS 1: qNMR on pure mycotoxin

    To develop qNMR methods for the mass fraction value assignment of mycotoxins in primary reference materials.

    SBS 2: Q-trap on pure mycotoxin

    To develop LC-MS methods for the accurate quantification of related structure impurities in pure mycotoxin materials (primary reference materials).

    SBS 3: LC-UV, LC-CAD on pure mycotoxin

    To develop LC-UV and LC-CAD methods for the accurate quantification of related structure impurities in pure mycotoxin materials (primary reference materials).

NMIs/DIs wishing to participate in the project should contact the BIPM for further information.


  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • The knowledge transfer secondments at the BIPM are open to visiting scientists from NMIs/DIs of Member States and Associates that:

      • have laboratories for organic analysis/reference materials and are developing Mycotoxin Metrology Programmes;
      • commit to participating in comparisons of mycotoxin calibration solutions coordinated by the BIPM;

      The visiting scientist shall

      • have practical experience in organic analysis relevant to the secondment to be undertaken;
      • have a working knowledge of English (instruction and documentation will be provided in English)
  • Financial Support:
    • Participating institutes are required to provide their own financial support.

    Knowledge Transfer Secondments

    The following visiting scientist secondment opportunities exist at the NMISA, South Africa, which focus on Analytical Methods for Mycotoxin Measurement. The training will cover the sample preparation, analysis, quantification and estimation of uncertainty of the measurement for:

    1. The determination of multiple mycotoxins (AFB1, AFB2, AFG1, AFG2, DON, ZON, FB1, FB2 and OTA) in foods such as maize (one secondment opportunity for 3 months in 2018/2019).
    2. The determination of AFB1, AFB2, AFG1 and AFG2 in groundnuts (one secondment opportunity for 3 months in 2018/2019).

  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • These knowledge transfer or training secondments are open to scientists from NMIs/DIs participating in the MMCBKT programme and other NMIs, DIs of Member States and Associates of AFRIMETS.

      These institutions must have laboratories equipped with organic analysis measurement instruments including a liquid chromatography (LC) system coupled to a UV and fluorescence detector and/or an LC coupled to a tandem quadrupole mass spectrometer (MS/MS).

      The visiting scientist shall have an analytical chemistry background with practical experience in sample preparation techniques and liquid chromatography analysis. The communication, instruction and relevant documentation will be provided in English and a working knowledge of English is therefore necessary.


  • Financial Support:
    • Participating institutes will be required to provide their own financial support.


    NMIs/DIs wishing to participate in these secondments should contact Dr Jayne de Vos (NMISA, South Africa) for further information.

    The following visiting scientist secondment opportunities exist at the NIM, China, which focus on mycotoxin matrix reference material production and value assignment:

    The Training Secondments (TS) focus on knowledge transfer and during which the visiting scientists will receive coaching/supervision from scientists at NIM, China. 2-3 positions every year from 2018 to 2019 are available, each of minimum duration of 6 months (6-12 months).

    List of topics covered by Knowledge Transfer Secondnment:

      TS 1: Measurement techniques based on HPLC-MS/MS

      To develop knowledge and practical experience on the implementation of HPLC-MS/MS methods for the accurate quantification of mycotoxins in food matrices.

      TS 2: Measurement techniques based on HPLC-FLD

      To develop knowledge and practical experience on the implementation of HPLC-FLD methods for the accurate quantification of mycotoxins in food matrices.

      TS 3: Preparation of mycotoxin in food matrix Reference Materials

      To develop knowledge and practical experience on the preparation of mycotoxin in food matrix RMs.

      TS 4: Homogeneity and stability testing of mycotoxin in food matrix Reference Materials

      To develop knowledge and practical experience on homogeneity and stability testing of mycotoxin matrix RMs.

      TS 5: Uncertainty evaluation of mycotoxin matrix Reference Material value assignment

      To develop knowledge and practical experience on data analysis and uncertainty evaluation of mycotoxin matrix RM value assignment.

      TS 6: Proficiency testing organization and result evaluation

      To develop knowledge and practical experience on the implementation and result evaluation of PT schemes for mycotoxins in food matrices.


  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • NIM's knowledge transfer secondments are open to visiting scientists from NMIs/DIs of Member States and Associates that:

      • have laboratories for organic analysis/reference materials and are developing Mycotoxin Metrology Programmes;
      • have experience in the application of LC-MS, LC-FLD and GC-MS methods;
      • commit to participating in relevant comparisons at the CCQM or RMO level;
      • have a working knowledge of English (instruction and documentation will be provided in English).

  • Financial Support:
    • NIM, China will provide financial support (living and travel expenses) to visiting scientists when they undertaking secondments at NIM.


    NMIs/DIs who wish to participate in these secondments should contact Prof Hongmei Li (NIM, China) for further information.

      The following Workshops are associated to the Mycotoxin Metrology CBKT project:


      • Workshop on Standards and Methods of Analysis for Mycotoxins
        • Pretoria, South Africa
          4–8 June 2018

          Contact Person: Dr Jayne de Vos, NMISA Director Chemistry and Materials (bjdevos(a)nmisa.org)