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Real-time “interactive storage” quality control in fresh agro products (QCAP)

The agri-food sector is an important industrial sector in the NWE region and has a high economic and social value. However, a significant part of the fruit and vegetables production is lost, due to spoilage/degradation during handling/storage/transportation between farm and distribution. Monitoring of product-produced indicators via an interactive storage system (ISS) in the storage atmosphere is a promising way to gain better control over the quality of the stored produce. There is, however, limited collaboration between innovation stakeholders (research institutes, industry, SMEs, end-users) on a transnational level that limits the development/broad implementation of the interactive storage system for different fresh products and in different regions.
Currently, no equipment is available to reliably measure the relevant volatiles with sufficient sensitivity in the storage atmosphere in a simple and cost-effective way. Currently at TRL4, the main outputs of QCAP will be the development of a prototype of the interactive storage system and an interactive storage system validated in real life, commercial conditions (at TRL6) in Germany (apples/blueberries), UK (potatoes) and Belgium (pears).
Long term effects: Using the ISS, growers/retailers will be able to gain EUR 60-100 million/yearly (estimated) in the NWE region, due to a 3-5% reduction of losses in fresh produce, using this highly innovative system.
In addition, QCAP will lead to 32 sustainable and long-term cooperations between organisations from the agri-food and high-tech sector on a transnational level and increased profits of organisations in agri-food and photonics sector due to sales of 10000 systems and technologies (NWE) in new markets.
Thus, QCAP will support cooperation between regions and create critical mass to enhance innovation performance of organizations in the NWE region.
Keywords: Infrared molecular spectroscopy, supercontinuum laser, chemical analysis, post-harvest storage.
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