There is an ever-increasing need for real time and onsite detection for risk related substances (e.g. pesticides, bacteria and antibiotics) and authenticity in agrifood products. Food quality, food frauds and food scandals are becoming a major issue these days. When it comes to authenticity of food, it allows consumers to get the actual value (what they pay for) and increases their overall level of trust of food. Due to this the food companies are increasing the amount of food authenticity testing to build customer trust and to avoid food scandals. However, the current state of the art is to bring the sample to the lab and getting it tested. This has logistical challenges:
- Time consuming and expensive
- Extensive sample preparation
- Most of these testing is done by food companies at the food processing stages i.e. after collection of food from the farmers/growers. Moreover, upon positive detection of compounds that indicate food fraud, for example whether the food is bio or not, the lots of food must be withdrawn from distribution centres for relabelling and in some cases even from supermarkets which further results in massive loss of money and time.
Next Generation Sensors BV (NGS) is developing a solution that can detect whether the food, in this specific case tomatoes are farmed using organic (bio) or conventional practices. The solution employs a rapid ambient sampling system and classification software developed by NGS and HAL 3F system from Hiden Analytical to find and classify the differences between bio farmed and conventional farmed tomatoes. The Hiden HAL 3F system provides excellent high dynamic range which gives good separation between two adjacent mass peaks (m/z) even if one m/z is way higher in amplitude. A typical plot with an area of interest of the mass spectrum showing profound differences due to the different flavour compound and farming practices is shown below, organic farmed tomatoes is in black and conventional in red.
Figure 1: Mass spectra of the analysed tomatoes from the same variety, red and black represent the bio and conventional (non-bio) farmed tomatoes respectively
Project summary by: Yiyuan Lin & Dr. Nassim Chikhi, Next Generation Sensors B.V. Gaetano Martinolaan 85, 6229 GS Maastricht, The Netherlands
Hiden Product: HAL 3F