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Handheld Molecular Contaminant Screener


There is an ever-increasing need for real time detection for risk related substances (e.g. pesticides, bacteria and antibiotics) in agro and food products. Food quality, food frauds and food scandals are becoming a major issue these days. Prime examples of recent food disasters are the Fipronil Dutch egg scandal and Salmonella French baby milk scandal. These scandals have not only resulted in health effects but also resulted in massive economic losses (> € 600m), losses in jobs and damage of the reputation of the European agro and food industry which takes pride in being the best in the world. Current high-end screening methods are laboratory based which are time consuming (5-12 days) and expensive (€200 per hour of testing cost at central labs). By the time results are out, food is already in the processing stage or in the supermarkets. We propose real-time detection of risk related substance using handheld molecular contaminant screener (HMCS) based on a novel portable mass spectrometry technology. With HMCS rather than bringing the sample to the lab you bring the lab to the sample. HMCS enables food companies to test food or food products for contaminants before collecting food from the farms and at various stages of the food value chain. We have validated by speaking with customers such as Freisland Campina (the world’s largest dairy co-operative) and Vion food group to name a few who indicated to pilot HMCS based on the success of feasibility study.

The feasibility study in phase 1 will technically validate the value of HMCS validate in terms of sensitivity (parts-per-billion), portability (< 9kg) and speed of detection (< 30 seconds). The economic feasibility study should provide lacking information about the decision making unit (farmer-food companies relationship) in order to validate the business plan.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/economics and business
  • /agricultural sciences/animal and dairy science/dairy
  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/analytical chemistry/mass spectrometry

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

SME-1 - SME instrument phase 1
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Urmonderbaan 22
6167 RD Geleen
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
€ 50 000