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Tuesday, 06 October 2009

Innovative technology for fresher, better food

Consumers want fresh, safe and good-quality food. But how can producers consistently meet their demands? Researchers in Germany have developed a new system based on metal-oxide sensor technology that could check food quality and safety in a quick yet cost-effective and reliable way. The researchers, from the Fraunhofer Institutes for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) and for Physical Measurement Techniques (IPM), said their innovative system checks gasses being emitted from the food on-site, rather than in a laboratory. The system can do what lab tests can't: check quickly and cheaply. It measures volatile components to determine when fruits and vegetables are ripe, and when they're ready to go to the supermarket to be taken home for consumption. Dr Mark B├╝cking, head of the Department of Environmental and Food Analysis at IME, explained that the system brings together several technologies. Metal-oxide sensors, perhaps best known for their use in cars (where they can close ventilation vents when the car drives through a tunnel, for example), are central to the design.

Source: European Commission