Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

RESFOOD Result In Brief

Project ID: 308316
Funded under: FP7-ENVIRONMENT
Country: Netherlands

New solutions for a secure and sustainable food chain

The EU-funded RESFOOD project has pioneered a range of innovative solutions that aim to boost efficiency and develop a truly viable circular economy. The proposed method is to close the cycles of water, energy and raw materials in the European food chain.
New solutions for a secure and sustainable food chain
The project has developed a toolkit of solutions for crop cultivation, fresh food processing and waste valorisation that should have a very real impact on the European food sector in the very near future. These include cutting edge techniques for microbial profiling of water to the creation of two pilot plants for fresh-cut vegetables which treats and reuses water, and are all ready-to-market technological solutions.

Closing the water cycle in horticulture and food-processing

On average, 44 % of the total water abstraction in Europe is used for agriculture. The RESFOOD project has developed ICT solutions to address this issue. Tested in southern Spain, the project has proved in practice that these solutions make it possible to reduce the water use per ton of product in soil-based systems by over 40 %, without having an impact on production.

The RESFOOD team also showed that it is possible to recycle 50 % of the wash water – after treatment by UF and UV disinfection – without influencing the quality of the product. This solution was tested at full scale at a production line with different types of vegetables.

Water-efficient washing machine for fresh-cut food

The project also developed a water-efficient washing machine for fresh-cut food on the basis of research undertaken by Spain’s CNTA on decontamination strategies. The demonstration of the technology showed promising results - the new machine reduced water consumption from 1.8 litres per kg to 1.3 litres per kg. ‘We now want to use the results of this innovation to save energy also on smaller washing machines. We plan to reduce the water consumption, taking the water from the outfeed belt and bringing it back into the machine. We are also very proud that the machine was nominated for the 2015 Food Tech Innovation Award,’ commented Eric Lefebvre from RESFOOD project partner Kronen that led on the machine’s development.

Optical biosensing methods for rapid monitoring of bacteria

Food and water safety has also been one of the RESFOOD priorities, leading the way on a new optical bio-sensing system for rapid and onsite analysis of bacteria in water. The project has shown that the prototype system proved to be robust and performed well during two rounds of pilot tests.

The results of the second demonstrations have been processed and analysed and now the project partner Technion, who developed the system, is currently working with a leading Israeli food company, in order to further enhance its performance and adapt it to the company’s products.

IS-Pro kit for microbial profiling of water

Also exploring bacteria in water, RESFOOD partners Microbiome developed the IS-Pro Kit. The team honed a process called IS profiling, which uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect bacteria by determining the length of a bacterial amplicon (a piece of DNA or RNA). The team has now been successful in achieving the necessary CE-IVD certification for the kit and it is now on the market. A portable filtering device, also developed during the project and accompanies the kit, has yet to reach the market but it is hoped that this will happen in the very near future.

Other RESFOOD solutions range from optimised irrigation management and improved technologies for water reuse and nutrient recovery to more environment-friendly extraction techniques of valuable materials from food by-products.

Building on project successes

The Horizon 2020 FERTINNOWA project, which started at the beginning of 2016, will be used to further disseminate and build upon the knowledge collected through RESFOOD, also by showcasing results at grower locations. Another project, GREENPROTEIN, carried out within the H2020BBI work programme, which includes a number of RESFOOD partners began in the middle of this year and has only just held its first kick-off meeting.

‘It is a pleasure to see that RESFOOD is still alive, almost one year after the final conference’ says project coordinator Willy van Tongeren of TNO, the Netherlands. ‘A lot of interested parties still request information on the project and its results are not only used in practice but are also utilised in new initiatives. I also look forward to see how the RESFOOD partners and other stakeholders take the technology we developed forward.’

Related information

Keywords

RESFOOD, FERTINNOWA, GREENPROTEIN, circular economy, ICT solutions, optimised irrigation management, IS-Pro Kit, water-efficiency
Record Number: 165010 / Last updated on: 2015-06-17
Domain: Environment