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Title: Maximizing freshness and minimizing losses of agriculture products through automated atmosphere management in storage facilities (MAX-FRESH)
Project number:

October 2020 - September 2023
Researchers: Mohammadreza Nematollahi, Victor Bosman, Frans Harren, Simona Cristescu
Cost estimate:
2.8 M€ 
Funding: EU H2020 - Fast Track to Innovation (FTI), under H2020-EU.3. H2020-EU.2.1. 
Project partners: Storex, NKT Photonics, Senseair
More information: Flyer (pdf, 189 kB), Website

Tracing gases to reduce loss of fresh produce

Sustainable food production has played an important role since the early days of civilisation, and it is especially crucial today. Agricultural produce contributes to the production of other foods as well as constituting a product in itself. Unfortunately, fresh produce is highly unsustainable: 33 % of fresh fruit and vegetables is lost or wasted, especially during long-term storage, resulting in severe financial losses for the food industry. The EU-funded MAX-FRESH project aims to combat this problem by developing the first automated multispecies trace gas sensor allowing the detection of seven volatile gases that indicate ripening, fermentation, damage or rotting of the produce. This will support the reduction of lost fresh produce by up to 50 % as well as extend the storage life of such products.


Today, the fresh produce supply chain is highly unsustainable: 33% of the produced fruit and vegetables is either lost or wasted, of which 10% occurs during long-term storage. This loss also has a major financial impact on the food industry. For stored apples, pears and blueberries alone, the global economic loss equals €6.1 billion per year. However, a significant part of current storage losses could be prevented if only continuous monitoring of stored products was possible so that appropriate measures can be taken.

In the MAX-FRESH project, we will develop the innovative ISS-Monitor: world’s first automated multi-species trace gas sensor that can simultaneously and in real-time detect low levels of 7 volatile gases that indicate ripening, fermentation, damage or rotting of stored fruit. Once unfavorable conditions are detected, the ISS-Monitor will provide automated alerts to enable timely and effective interventions by its customers. The ISS-Monitor has the potential to reduce losses of stored fresh food by 50%, extend storage life with 20%, and reduce post-harvest chemical treatments with 50%.

The MAX-FRESH project builds on a functional prototype of the ISS-Monitor which demonstrated proof-of-performance in a relevant environment. During the MAX-FRESH project, we will take the final steps required to launch the ISS-Monitor on the market. To do so, we apply for €2.2 million (77%) from the EC. The MAX-FRESH project will be performed by a complementary consortium of 3 market-leading industrial partners and 1 academic partner, combining cutting-edge technologies with unique expertise.

After completing the MAX-FRESH project in 2023, the ISS-Monitor wil be ready for market launch. By doing so, the ISS-Monitor will make an impact on the global food production system by contributing to sustainable food production for the ever-growing world population. Sales of the ISS-Monitor will generate cumulative revenues of €110 million for the MAX-FRESH consortium.

Post-Doc position available. More information: https://www.ru.nl/en/working-at/job-opportunities/postdoctoral-researcher-for-gas-sensing