Quality and shelf life of fresh food (FF: fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy) are affected by microbial contamination and insect attacks, that may be exacerbated by non-optimal logistics at post-farming and retailer stages. FEDKITO proposes the use of chitosan (CHT) aromatized with essential oils (EOs) to protect FF from insect and fungi attacks, together with the use of biosensors for measuring mycotoxins, pesticides, and FF quality values, that will allow real-time monitoring of FF quality during storage and transportation, with the aim to extend perishable Mediterranean food products shelf life.
CHT is an edible and biodegradable polymer derived from chitin, with antimicrobial and antifungal activity and low gas permeability. EOs that will be added to CHT are known for their antibacterial, antifungal, insecticidal, and insect repellent properties, and will be selected from a panel of experts evaluating their sensory quality that must match the target FF. Moreover, FEDKITO proposes the production of CHT as a mean of reuse of waste caused by selection and packaging of marketable FF, according to the circular economy criteria, by the use of larvae of the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae), rich in chitin, reared on FF by-products and waste. The innovative smart active packaging materials will be tested for efficacy against key pest of FF, such as Ceratitis capitata (Diptera Tephritidae) for fresh fruits, Spodoptera littoralis (Lepidoptera Noctuidae) for vegetables, Calliphora vomitoria and Lucilia sericata (Diptera Calliphoridae) for meat and Piophila casei (Diptera Piophilidae) for dairy products. Moreover, pathogens of Pennicillum spp., including the mycotoxin-producer P. expansum, will be included as target. FEDKITO will also evaluate the impact of the new technology on the nutritional and sensory attributes of FF, promoting the establishment of new protocols for FF processing, storage, and trade.
Madame Barbara Conti (University of Pisa)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
UTH University of Thessaly
UNIPI University of Pisa
CBBC Center of Biotechnology of Borj Cedria
CS Caseificio Sound Srl
FS Azienda Furio Salvadori
UNIBO University of Bologna
SU Sorbonne Université
CTI PEC CTI PLASTURGIE ET COMPOSITES
UH2C Université Hassan II de Casablanca
Help of the ANR 250,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: May 2020 - 36 Months