Research News

More food safety and less food waste

Tuesday, 19-01-2021

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture supports the research project Ki-BioSense at the University of Lübeck

How fresh is the meat in the supermarket or the fish in the refrigerator? A look at a color sensor on the outside of the food packaging could show the freshness of food directly and easily in the future - digital supply chains would make the result traceable.

Researchers in an interdisciplinary project at the University of Lübeck are currently working on the development of this new form of food safety. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture financially supports the research that brings together expertise from the fields of biomedical optics, computer science and food science at the Lübeck campus. The common goal is to build a digital supply chain with the help of biosensors.

The first sensor foils are already available. If you want to measure the freshness of food with them, the foil of the corresponding sensor changes color from green (eatable) to red (it is better to dispose of it).

The development of this system is based on the joint work of PD Dr. Ramtin Rahmanzadeh, who heads the bio division at the Institute for Biomedical Optics, with Dr. Christian Schell from Porphyrin Laboratories GmbH.

Dr. Ramtin Rahmanzadeh: “With our sensor, the substances that arise during spoilage, the biogenic amines, are detected directly. We hope very much that we can make an important contribution to greater food safety with this sensor. "

AI could Recognize the degree of freshness

In order to be able to determine a quantitative forecast of the freshness state, the sensors are also examined at the Institute for Software Technology and Programming Languages ​​(ISP) and assigned to a degree of freshness using AI methods. The freshness of the food is also constantly recorded in a block chain along the supply chain, so that the packaging cannot be tampered with.

In this way, a high-performance and, in particular, cost-effective solution for avoiding food waste is developed.

The total project cost of the KI-BioSense project is 2.3 million euros. The project is part of a consortium consisting of the institutes for Biomedical Optics (PD Dr. Ramtin Rahmanzadeh), for software technology and programming languages ​​(Prof. Martin Leucker) and for nutritional medicine (Prof. Christian Sina) at the University of Lübeck and leading companies in the food industry. Together, aspects of the digitization of the supply chain, the optimization of bio-sensors and the calibration of the sensors with the help of AI methods, as well as forecasting methods for determining the freshness of the food along the supply chain with the help of machine learning techniques are to be developed.


How fresh is the fish? Researchers are working on the development of a new form of food safety (photo: pixabay)

Dr. Christian Schell

PD Dr. Ramtin Rahmanzadeh

Prof. Martin Leucker

Prof. Christian Sina (photos: private (2), Uni Lübeck (2))