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ON-FIELD INNOVATIVE SYSTEM TO DETECT VERY LOW CONCENTRATIONS OF AFLATOXINS IN MILK

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SAFEMILK (ON-FIELD INNOVATIVE SYSTEM TO DETECT VERY LOW CONCENTRATIONS OF AFLATOXINS IN MILK)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-07-31

In the last decade Aflatoxins became an actual threat in Europe. The first relevant cases have been detected in 2003. However, in the period 2012-2013 Europe experienced the highest Aflatoxins contamination. Climate changes are considered one of the main issues related to the widespread of Aflatoxins: according to the Emerging Risks Unit of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the impact of climate change on food production is considered an emerging hazard for food and feed security worldwide. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a highly toxic metabolite of Aspergillus fungi that can contaminate animal feed. Cows that consume AFB1-contaminated feed excrete aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) in their milk.
The objective of SAFEMILK is to develop and market of an innovative spectroscopy based, portable device, capable to assess small Aflatoxins concentrations in milk. The solution proposed will enable a cost-effective service representing a real added value in particular for the small breeders, target customers, that have not available their own equipped laboratory for the Aflatoxins tests.
During the Phase 1 of the project, a technical feasibility was carried out, the outcomes are a clear understanding of the current methods for AFs detection, their advantages and drawbacks, compared to SAFEMILK technology. The system achieved an overall TRL 6 and aims to reach at the end of the Phase 2 a TRL 8. Key technical partners for portable SAFEMILK analyser production were identified and IPR securing and preliminary exploitation strategies defined. Different related patents have been identified but none of them has been considered relevant with respect to the IDP solution.
The innovative aspects of this work if compared to the previous know art can be found in the variable optical path probe integrated with a spectral engine and chemiometric software in compact rugged structure. A Marketing Plan was developed containing a market analysis at worldwide, European and national level and a sound marketing strategy based on commercial agreement and strategic alliances with players present in the milk sector. A SWOT analysis was elaborated and demonstrated the high potential of SAFEMILK apparatus. The financial plan reveals that revenue forecast presents a trend of growth specially from 2022, with the launch of mass production, the investments will be recovered in the first year. Preliminary dissemination strategy has been carried out and other actions will be carried out during the Phase 2 of the project.
The project will have a positive impact on employment, initially eight people will be employed by IDP to reach 20 employees by year 3 after product launch. The early detection and the possibility to easily perform tests every day on the milk to be delivered cancel the risks to expose human to the toxicity of aflatoxins along the value chain, with significant societal implications.
Safemilk TRL roadmap
Safemilk Approach
The aflatoxin contamination pathway