The prototype tests and scientific studies with the intelligent container demonstrated the feasibility of remote monitoring of food quality. Several improvements of the cold chain and logistic processes were identified during the project. Nevertheless, not all important issues concerning cold chain logistics could be covered by the project.
Mobile measurement of mould contamination
Detection of mould contamination in fresh foods during transportation is of great interest. Without careful cleaning, a container can be polluted by mould spores, or food products that already contain mould spores can be stowed in the container. In both cases, the initial concentration of spores might be below the detection threshold, but increase dramatically during transport. In order to develop a new mobile measurement device for the detection of mould infections during transport, the MaUS (micro reactor system for the autonomous measurement of mould contaminations) project was started in October 2013 by IMSAS.
The measurement principle is based on the well-known method of growing a probe on a culture medium. A set of miniaturised probe chambers, containing a culture medium in combination with an automated sample unit and sensors can be used for the estimation of fungal growth. If the main fungi for the specific food product are known, an adequate set of culture mediums can be selected. By comparing optical and chemical changes of the culture media with the fingerprint of the relevant fungi, it is possible to quantify the degree of contamination as well as to classify different species.
- Janssen, S.; Pankoke, I.; Klus, K.; Schmitt, K.; Stephan, U.; Wöllenstein, J.: Two underestimated threats in food transportation — Mold and Acceleration. In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, May/June 2014, Vol. 372(2017), 20130312. DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2013.0312
Roland Blank, Institute for Microsensors-, actuators and -systems, University of Bremen, Email