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Handheld Molecular Contaminant Screener

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HMCS (Handheld Molecular Contaminant Screener)

Reporting period: 2019-02-01 to 2019-07-31

There is an urgent need for immediate screening methods 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. We propose on the spot detection of these risk related substance using handheld molecular contaminant screener (HMCS) based on a novel portable mass spectrometry technology.

Feasibility studies were performed in order to technically and economically validate the value of HMCS.

Technical study objectives:

Technical validation of the value of HMCS in terms of sensitivity (parts-per-billion), portability (< 9kg) and speed of detection (< 30 seconds).

Economic study objective:

Insight into lacking information about market and the decision making unit (farmer-food companies relationship) in order to validate the business plan.
Technical Feasibility Study - Action Performed and Results:

In technical feasibility study a miniature portable mass spectrometer platform was developed to validate the value of HMCS validate in terms of sensitivity (limits of detection), portability (weight) and speed of detection by using novel light weight materials and methodologies. The study resulted in a portable <9 kg platform that is able to measure contaminants at a speed of <30 seconds with a sensitivity in the range of parts per billion.

Economic Feasibility Study - Action performed and results:

In economic feasibility study a market research was performed by interviewing potential customers/users (i.e. food companies, farmers and opinion leaders) in order to validate the return of investment for customers and to consolidate the business model.

The outcome of the economic feasibility study resulted in the validation of business model.
State of the art approach for agro and food testing is done by bringing the sample to the lab (time consuming 3-12 days) and expensive (€150-200/hour testing cost at central testing laboratories), whereas with HMCS you bring the lab to the sample (< 2 mins of total analysis time) as a total solution. HMCS is expected to be launched in 2021, and is projected to generate a cumulative revenue of € 8 million by the end of 2025 resulting in 18 FTE at NG Sensors BV.

Major companies in Netherlands now spend approx €1 million per year on analysis, we can cut cost with 70% because they only need 6 (@50k€) of our HMCS to do all the work. This is to demonstrate the Return of Investment (ROI) in unpretentious terms.

Above all the most important societal factor which outweighs everything is social responsibility, it is always better to prevent than to be precarious to the society by letting the contaminated agricultural produce down the supply chain. Detection of contaminants in agro and food products and pre-empt to stop contaminated food from entering the supply chain means better quality food for our society.
HMCS Concept