top of page

RIKILT Wageningen UR


RIKILT (legal entity ‘Stichting Wageningen Research’) is part of Wageningen University and Research Centre that provides world-class expertise in agrofood research to students from >100 different nationalities, and has been awarded as the best university by Dutch students in 2015. RIKILT is strongly connected to university research groups in analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, bionanotechnology, toxicology and food quality management through the joint appointments of Prof. Michel Nielen and Prof. Saskia van Ruth, thus ensuring transfer of both fundamental and applied expert knowledge. The institute is an innovative partner in food quality and safety research and specialized in method development, analyses and expert advice. Moreover, the ISO 17025 and ISO17043 (proficiency testing) accredited institute is also National and EU Reference Laboratory and heavily involved in national and EU monitoring plans. RIKILT can determine the authenticity and origin of products and carries out research into the biological effects, both positive and negative, of substances and contaminants in food and feed as well. Dr Ruud Peters is senior scientist and is a leading expert on the development of analytical detection methods for nanoparticles in food and micro- and nanoplastics in cosmetics. He has a track record of 78 peer-reviewed papers (H-index 31). Prof. Michel Nielen is principal scientist of RIKILT and part-time professor in analytical chemistry at Wageningen University. Through the latter appointment he is entitled to award doctoral degrees. He has a track record of 165 peer-reviewed papers (H-index 42).


Role and Commitment of key persons

(including supervisors)

Dr Peters will be project leader, co-promotor and daily supervisor of the local ESR and as such his involvement will be 20% of his full-time employment. Prof Nielen will act as academic promotor of the ESR, his involvement will be 10% of full-time employment.


Key Research Facilities, Infrastructure and Equipment

The Contaminant section of RIKILT is experienced in the development of analytical methods for the detection and characterisation of nanoparticles in food and in environmental and toxicological samples. Sample preparation is an important part of these analysis. Instrumental analysis often involves mass spectrometric techniques. Plastic microparticles have been measured using microscopy and FTIR techniques while plastic nanoparticles have been detected and characterized using particle tracking analysis and electron microscopy. The unique combination of biological, toxicological and instrumental analysis facilities and the multidisciplinary staff offers an exciting environment to ESRs. Full on-line library is available. The ESR project will be embedded within the Wageningen University Graduate School VLAG.


Status of  Research premises

The research premises are independent from other beneficiaries and the partner organisations


Previous Involvement in Research and Training Programmes

RIKILT participated in many EU research and training programmes, as a co-ordinator or as core-group beneficiary, for example in FP6 BIOCOP, FP7 CONffIDENCE, FP7 NANOLYSE, FP7 NANODEFINE and the FP7/People projects IMPRESS and PIMMS. RIKILT is co-founder and co-organizer of the famous Recent Advances in Food Analysis (RAFA) symposium series. Prof. Nielen supervised 9 PhD theses at Wageningen University


Current Involvement in Research and Training Programmes

RIKILT is active in many EU research and training programmes, as co-ordinator or as core-group beneficiary, e.g. in FOODINTEGRITY, IMPRESS, PIMMS, NanoFASE, H2020 ACEnano and the ITN FoodSmartPhone. Moreover, RIKILT is co-founder and co-organizer of the Advanced Food Analysis international PhD-level course at Wageningen University Graduate School VLAG. Prof. Nielen is responsible for the BSc course on mass spectrometry at Wageningen University. Furthermore, he is lecturing at the national BSc+ and MSc+ talent student program on analytical chemistry. He is currently supervising 5 PhD students.


Relevant Publications and/or Research / Innovation Product

  1. Heringa, M.B., Peters, R.J.B., Bleys, R.L.A.W., Van der Lee, M.K., Tromp, P.C., Van Kesteren, P.C.E., Van Eijkeren, J.C.H., Undas, A.K., Oomen, A.G., Bouwmeester, H. (2018). Detection of titanium particles in human liver and spleen and possible health implications. Particle and Fibre Toxicology, 15, 15.

  2. Naasz, S., Weigel, S., Borovinskaya, O., Serva, A., Cascio, C., Undas, A.K., Simeone, F.C., Marvin, H.J.P., Peters, R.J.B. (2018). Multi-element analysis of single nanoparticles by ICP-MS using quadrupole and time-of-flight technologies. J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 33, pp 835-845. DOI: 10.1039/C7JA00399D.

  3. Peters, R.J.B., van Bemmel, G., Milani, N.B.L., den Hertog, G.C.T., Undas, A.K., van der Lee, M., Bouwmeester, H. (2018). Detection of nanoparticles in Dutch surface waters. Sci Total Environ. 621, pp 210-218. DOI:

  4. Peters, R., Herrera-Rivera, Z., Van der Lee, M., Marvin, H., Bouwmeester, H., Weigel, S. (2015) Single particle ICP-MS combined with a data evaluation tool as a routine technique for the analysis of nanoparticles in complex matrices. J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 30, 1274-1285. doi:10.1039/c4ja00357h.

  5. Bouwmeester, H., Hollman, P.C.H., Peters, R.J.B. (2015). Potential Health Impact of Environmentally Released Micro- and Nanoplastics in the Human Food Production Chain: Experiences from Nanotoxicology. Environ. Sci. Technol., 49 (15), pp 8932–8947. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b01090.

bottom of page