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Fresh meat optical detection

To produce an optical sensor that will determine the freshness of the packaged meat product. The m-fresh-sens sensor will represent a new product on the market that will significantly reduce the return flow of products just before the expiration date.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase of pressure on food manufacturers to guarantee food safety, its quality and traceability. Use of advanced technologies to develop methods to screen, detect and confirm multiple chemical residues and pathogenic bacteria and their toxins in food products has become a priority. To estimate the bacterial spoilage and food decomposition, biogenic amines (BA), such as histamine, putrescine and cadaverine, have been confirmed as good chemical indicators [1-3]. For instance, during storage of meat products, BA may be formed due to the degradation of proteins and amino-acids by microbial proteolytic and decarboxylating activity. The presence of BA in food constitutes a potential public health concern due to their physiological and toxicological effects. BA can react with nitrite that is used as a curing agent in some meat products to form carcinogenic nitrosamines [4]. The deterioration of packed meat products that progressively appears during storage is the result of many factors: meat composition, degree of processing, and conditions under which the meat product is stored. The combined knowledge and experience of processors and those involved in the storage, distribution and retailing of food, enables estimates to be made of the likely shelf-life of the product under specific storage conditions. In practice, however, end-product quality may vary due to extrinsic factors (particularly temperature). Traditional methods to determine the extent of deterioration are time consuming, expensive, and are indirect methods that request large apparatuses and specially educated technicians. The meat production industry whose turnover is billions of euros per annum needs a rapid and accurate detection system for microbial spoilage of meat and meat products. The aim of the project is to develop an optical sensor system for the detection of BA and so the freshness and the deterioration of freshly packed meat products in real-time. At this stage the focus will be on the determination of shelf-life of freshly packed poultry meat through the production of intelligent packaging [5], incorporating sensor technology. Optical sensors are usually comprised of a solid-state material incorporated with proper indicators (indicator dyes, enzymes). Indicator dyes undergo optical changes on interaction with chemical species (analyte) and convert the concentration of a chemical analyte into a visible and/or measurable optical signal (absorption, luminescence, reflectance, etc.). Biosensors are chemical sensors with a biological sensing element (enzymes, antibodies, etc.) attached to a physical transducer. The biosensor contains two active parts: the enzyme that is sensitive and selective to the anayte, and the transducer that selectively detects the product of the enzymatic process. For food packaging applications, the following sensor specifications have to be considered: (a) sensor working range (adjustment to the type of packaging), (b) temperature dependence (operation over a wide temperature range, from -20 to +30 degrees Celsius), (c) fast response time, (d) stability (sensor operable and reliable up to several weeks duration - from packaging to the opening point, (e) no intrinsic toxicity and biocompatibility of sensor elements (considering the Framework Regulation (EC) 1935/2004 and 450/2009)). Such a sensor system has not been used within the meat food industry yet. The use of the proposed sensor has many advantages. It allows the packed meat product to have a longer effective shelf-life and, consequently, the percentage of wastage is reduced. The control of food quality is superior and consumers can avoid food products that contain high values of BA (higher than 120 mg kg -1) by using the proposed system. The project is planned to be divided into four main parts. In the first part, the optical chemical sensor system will be developed by IOS, D.O.O. In the second part, the development of optical biosensor system will be developed by SOUTH-TRANS-DANUBIAN CRC CLOSE COMPANY (STCRC). The third part will include the introduction of the developed sensors into meat packaging process at PERUTNINA PTUJ, D.O.O. COMPANY (PP). The fourth partner, BBOX COMPUTER KFT. (BBOX), will be focused on the development of a miniaturised detection system, data transferring and its acquisition. The coordination among all partners will be managed by IOS, D.O.O. References: [1] Patsias, I. Chouliara, E.K. Paleologos, I. Savvaidis, M.G. Kontominas, Eur Food Res Technol 223 (2006) 683-689; [2] C.C. Balamatsia, E.K. Paleologos, M.G. Kontominas and I.N. Savvaidis, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 89 (2006) 9-17; [3] M. Rokka, S. Eerola, M. Smolander, H.L. Alakomi, R Ahvenainen, Food Control 15 (2004) 601-607; [4] B.J. McCabe-Sellers, CG. Staggs, M.L. Bogle, J. Food Compos. Anal. 19 (2006) S58.; [5] J.P. Kerry, M.N. O'Grady, S.A. Hogan, Meat Science 74 (2006) 113-130.
Acronym: 
M-FRESH-SENS
Project ID: 
4 961
Start date: 
01-09-2009
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
900 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Detection and Analysis methods
Market Area: 
General food products

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.