Objectives & Workpackages

The ultimate goal is to enlarge the market size for fresh fruit and vegetables thanks to the increase of the capacity of the EU industry to provide safer and more durable produces by means of improvements in produce washing and packaging technologies.

Objectives

These objectives are to be achieved by the combination of the following nanotechnology-driven innovative solutions for fresh-cut products:

1.- Washing & disinfection:

2.- Shelf-life improvement:

The project work plan has been split in 6 closely interacting Work Packages WP1-WP6, each one of them executed by partners with complimentary expertise and with clearly defined objective(s) and alternative plans.

WP1

Development and evaluation of nanostructured biocidal surfaces. WP1 focuses on the incorporation of biocidal nanoparticles into electrospun mats and grafting for surface modification of hydrophobic membranes. A second aim of WP1 is to use residues from food industry as raw materials for the production of UF and NF membranes. The partners UAH, as WP Leader, and LTU are involved in WP1. WP1 is providing membranes and background to scale-up and prepare modules in WP2 (RWTH). The evaluation of membranes and processes is performed in WP4 (chemical, UAL) and WP5 (antimicrobial, IVV).

WP2

Assessment of membrane performance and design of equipment to integrate membranes in food cleaning systems. Low-fouling membranes functionalized with nanocellulose and nanochitin will be developed. Synergy of oxidation processes with ultrafiltration and the prevention of biofouling will be investigated. The WP2 leader RWTH and LTU are responsible of the WP2. The modules will be equipped with the membranes developed in WP1 (UAH and LTU) and by RWTH.

WP3

Development of a new generation of packaging materials based on nanotechnology. (i) improved and antimicrobial nanocomposite based on Polyolefin and metal oxide, (ii) active-nanomaterials to improve quality and extend the shelf-life of fresh products and (iii) new active eco-sustainable biopolymer metal oxide nanocomposites CNR is responsible of the WP3, where UAH also participates; the developed packaging materials will be also evaluated by INIA (WP4) and IVV (WP5).

WP4

Chemical evaluation of the efficacy and safety of the developed membranes and packing materials. The successful development of the food washing systems involves effectiveness evaluation to determine removal levels of pesticide residues, contaminants and transformation products. This WP will also evaluate the migration of both metal nanoparticles and organic compounds integrated into food packaging materials. Preservation efficacy of packaging materials will be determined evaluating presence of mycotoxins in stored commodities. The partners UAL, as WP Leader, LTU and INIA are involved in the WP4 with the aim to evaluate the materials developed by UAH and LTU (WP1), RWTH and LTU (WP2) and CNR (WP3).

WP5

Determination of antimicrobial efficacy of the developed nanostructured membranes and functional packaging materials and shelf life prolongation. The influence on the quality of fresh-cut produce will be tested with sensorial and organoleptic analysis. The gained data in WP5, are pre-requisite for an assessment of the suitability of the developed materials for industrial applications and also basis for further optimization activities in WP1, WP2 and WP3. The partners Fh-IVV as WP Leader, and UAL are involved in this WP5).

WP6

Life cycle assessment (LCA) studies for post-harvest chain processing of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. A broad range of environmental impacts/benefits, will be evaluated for the various nanotechnology options. Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) and optimization. The LCIA will also provide insight in the life cycle stages that have a main influence on the life cycle impact outcomes of the various food processing options. INIA is responsible of the WP6, and will gather in-house measurements from the partners involved around planned activities of development (WP1-3) and evaluation (WP4-5) of nanomaterials, within the project.

org

logos

This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Programme for research and technological development.

Project Details
Total cost: 2.679.791 €
Project Identifier: CEREAL
Duration: 01/08/2014- 01/08/2017