Most analytical techniques used in quality control require isolation of the food component of interest. The original properties of the product are, therefore, destroyed during sample preparation and analysis. Oftentimes, such analyses are expensive, time consuming, and require sophisticated instrumentation, and hence are not suited for "on-line" quality control of food products. For on-line sensors, many physical principles have been checked, yet very few sensors having a meaningful correlation with some quality property are available. Fluorescence spectroscopy has demonstrated a strong potential to be utilized as a rapid and non-destructive technique to study food quality.
The utilization of chemometric tools in interpretation of the spectral data obtained allows describing important, but immeasurable properties of the system hidden in the band position, the band intensities and the bandwidth. The objective of this project is to develop and validate a generic method based on a miniature laptop spectrofluorometer for at/on-line non-destructive and non-invasive analysis of food properties and quality attributes. The following tasks have to be accomplished to achieve the goal of the project: evaluate the main intrinsic fluorophores of dairy products, fish, and meat; investigate the correlation of fluorescence of the intrinsic fluorophores with the quality parameters of interest; develop models for the prediction of the food property and quality from spectral data using chemometric tools.
The project will result in the novel non-destructive and non-invasive techniques to facilitate determination of the dynamic state of food processes on-line and in real-time. These techniques also determine food safety and quality attributes of foods to enable food manufacturers to produce food products with consistently high quality and greater consumer acceptance.
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