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Source tracking and monitoring of mould contamination in food production (FUST)
Start date: Nov 1, 2012, End date: Oct 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Microbial spoilage and contamination of fruit juices with filamentous fungi is a big problem for juice producers: 12.5-40% of juice is spoiled due to fungal contamination, that valued €4.3-14.0bn in loses annually for juice sector in Europe.Mould identification and source tracking in the food industry, in particular in the juice industry, is difficult because current technologies rely mainly on visual identification. Therefore they have low sensitivity, they are slow and expensive.The aim of FUST is to develop a system based on Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy for food spoilage source tracking and identification of fungal contamination in the juice industry which overcomes these drawbacks.The prototype to be developed within this project consists of a fully automated cultivation and liquid sample handling system for high-throughput FTIR spectroscopy and bespoke software and databases. For FTIR spectroscopy an off-the shelf routine instrument will be used.The consortium consists of SMEs that will profit from the commercialization of this system in different ways. Labman Automation, an SME specialised in developing bespoke robotic systems, automation, and electronic solutions and the future integrator of the system, wishes to commercialize the complete solution including the automated system, industrial protocol, software and databases and an off-the shelf FTIR spectrometer. The target audience of Labmann Automation will be large food companies and microbial testing laboratories. The SME Synthon GmbH, an SME specialized on FTIR for bacteria and software solutions wants to license the software and databases to Labmann Automation. The SME ScanBi Diagnostics, a molecular testing lab, wants to establish the complete system in their lab and sell it as a service to small juice and food producers.
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