Device for the On-Line Evaluation of Shelf Life, Authenticity and Quality of Seafood Products
The technology consists in the development of prediction/calibration models by a portable device for the analysis of the quality and traceability of the final product for the seafood industry.
The technique proposed is a portable near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) device for the on-line evaluation of seafood quality. The instrument works in real time without sample preparation and allows an easy and cheap assessment of raw and processes materials. The main goal of the researchers is to apply different portable instruments to analyse the shelf life/freshness, authentication and quality of different fishery products.
Conventional methods for freshness and organoleptic assessment of prepared fishery products are time consuming and are destructive methods. These approaches also require a laboratory analysis and, in some cases, expensive instrumentation managed by expert technicians. The main advantages of NIRS analysis are the on-site usability, rapidness, non-destructive sample preparation, eco-friendly approach (no reagents) and no requirement of dedicated facilities. Moreover, compared to other analytical instruments, the cost is limited.
Stage of development
The researchers performed many studies on different products (cutlets, fillets, minced meat) and species (swordfish, sea bass, sea bream, mullet, cuttlefish) and the proposed strategies were validated over a database of more than 1200 samples. The studies were related to the fast fraud identification or to the freshness/quality characterization and were performed using different NIRS laboratory instruments. The portable tools were tested in the prototype stage.
Challenge and needs
Food supply chains have increasingly become more complex in the previous decade owing to globalization. In particular, fisheries and aquaculture markets have witnessed significant technological advances, globalization trends and increased market and consumer demands. The need for traceability and quality testing has become significant in the face of several outbreaks of food-borne diseases and for legislative requirement in most international fish trade agreements. Handheld or portable technologies are becoming more common in food safety and quality testing. With these technologies testing can be carried out conveniently during any stage of the food production and delivery process and the integration of these technologies with online tools enables the development of powerful handheld platforms for food quality analysis.
The technology is not yet protected by a patent.
Potential markets and targets
The proposed technology is specifically directed towards the market segment of food traceability testing. The global food traceability market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 7.1% to reach nearly $15.1 billion in 2021. Among all the various technologies used for the analysis of food traceability, near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) will reach the total value of $717.8 million in 2021 at an estimated CAGR of 4.5% from 2016 to 2021.The NIR technology is a relatively recent phenomenon in food traceability and quality assessment. This method provides for high levels of rapidity and also enables online analysis of the information. The global market for food traceability in the seafood industry is expected to reach $1.6 billion in 2021 at an estimated CAGR of 6.8% from 2016 to 2021.
Potential partners could be SMEs involved in the seafood sector, or the fishery sector (e.g. producers, processing industry), large-scale distribution, HACCP consultings. Moreover, additional partners could be the refrigeration industries sector and private laboratory companies.