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Sensor Technology for Food analYsis

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - STEFY (Sensor Technology for Food analYsis)

Reporting period: 2017-05-01 to 2018-07-31

STEFY main goal is to introduce a new economic, portable and easy to use system, that enables an effective, fast and reliable quality control in the food production and supply chain. STEFY is a versatile system that can be customized to test a wide range of substances. In its initial market launch, PROXENTIA will focus on the three main threats – mycotoxins, allergens and contaminants – in 2 specific markets, wine industry and Flour and cereal industry.
ProXentia relies on a proprietary optical technology, the Reflective Phantom Interface (RPI) method that grants an extraordinary ease of use and the multi-parameter analyses for any cartridges.

Description of STEFY products:
1. CARTDRIDGE: single-use, it allows the detection and quantification of multiple molecules in each sample. Each cartridge is focused on a sample type and developed to produce the most complete analysis in terms of quality and sample safety.
2. READER: a portable device with weight and compact design. The reader will have the wi-fi connectivity for the remote control and for the test results transmission.
3. SOFTWARE: cross-platform (i.e. tablet, laptop) able to remotely communicate with the READER to provide test results e data storage.

STEFY will simplify the food safety testing processes by providing several innovative key features:
• Quick test duration (around 20 minutes);
• Simultaneous broad-spectrum monitoring;
• User-friendliness (not requiring expert personnel);
• On-site applicability;
• Easy and fast preparation of the samples;
• Versatility towards different applications;
• Low cost against all the already available tests;

STEFY would like to become a key player in the market of food safety control devices that is dramatically growing encouraged by ever more stringent regulations. STEFY has the ambition of quickly gaining a large share of the food security market by offering an alternative solution to analyses in external laboratories.
The STEFY project will be carried out according to these main phases: STEFY System engineering, Testing and Evaluation in real scenario, Dissemination of the results and definition of the exploitation plan.
During the first year the main focus was the system engineering. In this phase, ODL was responsible of the production of the first version of the reader based on the precedent PROXENTIA prototypes.
Moreover, it has been designed and carried out in partnership with ProXentia, a new version of the cartridge that has enabled the team to make progress in the activity of mechanical, optical and biochemical testing of the whole system.
The information gathered from the activity of testing have been essential to the layouting of the working drawings for the second generation of the reader that is now in development.
The STEFY software is available in a version for PC and enables to carry out the tests by controlling all the functions efficiently and effectively. An extensive activity of debugging is on and we are now designing the version for Android.
The cartridge for the wine test is working. It permits the detection of the presence and the concentration of Ochratoxin and allergens.
In addition, the preliminary tests on cereal matrix are in progress.

At the same time, the work of dissemination of the results has taken place by the participation to several public conferences and exhibitions, not to mention the many discussions and meetings with companies interested to the ProXentia product.
Among the events, we can quote a presence with a stand at the exhibitions MakerFaire 2016, SMAU 2016, Seeds and Chips 2017 and the oral presentations at the conferences Rapid Methods 2016 e 20th Int'l Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Science – MicroTAS.
Food Safety Testing is certainly a fast-growing market, driven by the continuous raising of rule standards and a growing awareness of the final consumers, proved and amplified by the strong media coverage due to increasingly frequent alarms for cases of contamination or adulteration.
After the 24 months of the project development, the partners will enter the food testing market with the new device completely setup and optimized, selling as well customized cartridges following the customers’ requirements. According to the SME INSTRUMENT PHASE 1 outputs, ProXentia established, as the most convenient strategy that the STEFY initial commercialization will start by approaching the food and wine producers and grain millers fields.

After the STEFY project conclusion, ProXentia aims to maintain a lean structure and a strong R&D department. ODL is the right partner for all the operations concerning the manufacturing of the reader and the cartridge by assembly and checking all the parts coming from the suppliers. Enologica Vason, is an international group and pioneer in oenological technologies. They have already expressed the interest in the distribution of the STEFY products for the wine production chain all around the world.

The project has given to ProXentia the chance to invest in human resources and recruit 3 research, all of a high professional profile and now involved in the research and industrialization process of the new products of ProXentia.

The STEFY project accomplishes the following EU challenges:
The market need of fast, cheap and easy-to-use tests for food quality control is driven by several European regulations that make food manufacturers responsible for food safety, thus forcing them to perform continuous quality controls in their production chain. Such controls represent an important cost for food companies, so they are strongly oriented to find out innovative solutions able to reduce the cost and the time necessary to perform safety tests.
The social problem of the present time is related to the dramatic rise of allergic diseases worldwide, both in developed and developing countries. Globally, 240 – 550 million people suffer from food allergy that significantly affects their quality of life. Moreover, since mycotoxins are known to be genotoxic and carcinogenic, their taking with food should be kept as low as possible. The European Union introduced measures to minimize the presence of mycotoxins in different foodstuffs. Maximum levels of mycotoxins are laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006. Products exceeding the maximum levels are not allowed to be admitted to the food market in the EU.
ProXentia with its device will answer exactly to those growing requirements arising from the new needs of safety in food.