The RESFOOD glossary provides basic explanations for the terminology related with the project activities.
Alkaloid: Basic organic compounds of plant origin, containing combined nitrogen. Most alkaloids are found in plants, although some are produced by fungi and animals. They have a wide range of effects and are used as medicines and poisons. Morphine, quinine, strychnine, codeine, caffeine, cocaine and nicotine are all alkaloids. The RESFOOD project extracts alkaloids from endives for potential use as natural pesticides in sustainable horticulture.
Biomass: Renewable organic materials, such as wood, agricultural crops or wastes and municipal wastes, especially when used as a source of fuel or energy. At each stage of the agro-industrial fruit and vegetable processing industry, biomass by-products such as peels, seeds and unused flesh are produced. The RESFOOD project aims to minimise the biomass wastes in the food production and processing by developing processes to extract bio-active and high value components (alkaloids, pectins and carotenoids) and valorise the residues after extraction towards energy, organic fertilizer or nutrients.
Carotenoid: Any of a class of yellow to red pigments (chemically similar to carotene) found especially in plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. Carotenoids can be produced from fats and other basic organic metabolic building blocks by all these organisms. In the RESFOOD project, carotenoids are extracted with three techniques (Supercritical fluid extraction, Membrane technology, Organic solvent extraction) to have high purity carotenoids to be used in the nutraceutical (nutrition and pharmaceutical) industry as dietary supplements, natural food colorants and antioxidants.
Ceramic nanofiltration: Recent filtration process based on ceramic membranes. RESFOOD uses this process to eliminate organic matter in the process water.
Chlorine disinfection: Chlorine compounds are widely used in the food industry to kill bacteria and disinfect. Examples include treating pasteurizer cooling water, washing fruit and vegetables and disinfecting food contact surfaces. However, in light of concerns about the environmental and health risks associated with the possible formation of hazardous disinfection by-products (mainly trihalomethanes), there is increasing pressure on the industry to search for alternatives to this disinfectant. In fact, the use of chlorine for the disinfection of fresh produce is currently banned in some European countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium. RESFOOD conducts laboratory research to develop alternative disinfection methods to avoid the formation of hazardous and carcinogenic disinfection byproducts resulting from chlorine disinfection.
Denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC): DNA fragment-based method used by RESFOOD for rapid detection of pathogens.
Electrodyalis: a process used to remove undesired ions from a solution by means of a direct current passing between two electrodes. RESFOOD will test this technique in purge water to achieve the separation of monovalent and multivalent ions and obtain a concentrate with an optimal and steady level of sodium.
Food processing: Food processing is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food or to transform food into other forms for consumption by humans or animals either in the home or by the food processing industry. Food processing typically takes clean, harvested crops or butchered animal products and uses these to produce attractive, marketable and often long shelf-life food products. Benefits of food processing include toxin removal, preservation, easing marketing and distribution tasks, and increasing food consistency. The RESFOOD project works to achieve a resource efficient food processing by minimising water and energy consumption, but at the same time to reduce health and safety risk by eliminating the bacterial load from process water.
Horticulture: Horticulture is the science, technology and business involved in intensive plant cultivation for human use. It is very diverse in its activities, incorporating plants for food (fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, culinary herbs) and non-food crops (flowers, trees and shrubs, turf-grass, hops, medicinal herbs). RESFOOD aims at reducing the intake of fresh water in horticulture with 30-70 % by efficient ferti-irrigation, improved substrate cultivation and far going closure of the water cycle.
Inoculation: Introduction of pathogen bacteria into a determined matrix (fresh-cut vegetables, water, etc.) to evaluate the efficacy of the treatment. Within the RESFOOD project, disinfection treatment are operated both on vegetable samples that have not been inoculated with selected pathogens and on vegetable samples inoculated (inoculation level of 106 CFU/g) with the pathogens to see the effectiveness of the treatments and the eventual influence of the bacteria on the results.
Integrated green concepts: A new approach to the food challenges developed by RESFOOD that involves both the food production and processing sectors: efficient solutions taking into the account the environmental impact all through the complete food chain, including retail and consumers, will be assessed and demonstrated at pilot scale. These measures will focus on: Minimal water use; Minimal energy use; Minimised waste (including biowaste valorization).
Kill step: Kill step is the term typically used to describe a point in the food manufacturing process where potentially deadly pathogens are eradicated from the product (usually by killing the pathogen). Given that fresh-cut products are ready to eat, and are not subjected to further microbial killing steps, the use of effective sanitizing agents during produce washing is necessary to ensure product safety. In the RESFOOD project it has been raised the extremely challenging, but not impossible, goal of developing an effective kill step while maintaining quality and shelf-life, especially for fresh-cut produce.
Log reduction: Log reduction is a mathematical term used to show the relative number of live microorganisms eliminated from a surface by disinfecting or cleaning. During the RESFOOD laboratory tests, sanitizing treatment tests are conducted by using various combinations of chemical agents (organic acids, hydrogen peroxide, ozone, neutral electrolyzed water) and physical treatment (pressure and vacuum) to check the resulting log reduction on the treated lettuce and carrot.
Membrane technology: widely used technology to operate mechanical separation processes and disinfect water. Nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membranes are mainly used for water purification purposes. RESFOOD intends to enhance this system to reduce fouling on the membrane.
Multi-hurdle approach: a technique to disinfect fresh cut vegetables applying physical (positive/negative pressure) as well as chemical (sanitazing agents) ‘hurdles’ , i.e. obstacles that pathogens have to overcome simultaneously. RESFOOD seeks for an improved strategy to remove microorganisms from the products and the washing water.
Nanofiltration: a filtration process using nanometer-sized membrane technology for the removal of disinfection by-products and minerals from water. It is one of the processes studied within RESFOOD to enhnce selective sodium removal from drain water.
Nutrient: A substance that provides nourishment for growth or metabolism. Plants absorb nutrients mainly from the soil in the form of minerals and other inorganic compounds, and animals obtain nutrients from ingested foods. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy. RESFOOD develops innovative technologies to save and recover nutrients, water, energy and valuable materials from raw agricultural materials in order to have a great impact on the resource efficiency in food production and processing.
Pectin: A type of polysaccharide contained in the primary cell walls of terrestrial plants. Pectins are well-known for texture control in the food industry and they are used in certain medicines and cosmetics and in making jellies. The RESFOOD project extracts pectins from endives, carrot dejuiced pulp and apple pomace for potential use of this biomass byproduct in nutrition. This also has an economic significance since pectin is a high value material.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): A biochemical technology that generates thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence, used by RESFOOD to detect pathogens.
Polyphenol: A chemical that protect cells against ultraviolet radiation and other environmental and pathogenic threats. These chemicals may add characteristics to foods such as color, flavor, odor, bitterness or astringency. RESFOOD develops a Membrane Assisted Affinity Filtration process for water to recover valuable components such as polyphenols, proteins, pectins and aminoacides and remove unwanted components such as pesticides.
Pulsed electric field technology (PEF): A non-thermal method of food preservation that uses short bursts of electricity for microbial inactivation and causes minimal or no detrimental effect on food quality attributes. PEF can be used for processing liquid and semi-liquid food products. PEF is one of the waste water decontamination technologies used by RESFOOD in order to recycle warm and cold water in food processing.
Reverse osmosis (RO): A water purification technology that uses a semipermeable membrane. It is one of the membrane separation technologies used in RESFOOD to recover carotenoids and polyphenols from waste water.
Ultrafiltration: The filtration of a colloidal substance through a semipermeable medium that allows only the passage of small molecules. It is one of the processes used within the RESFOOD project to extract carotenoids.
Vacuum: A physical treatment for food preservation. In the RESFOOD project, it is used together with the application of positive pressures, to test the most suitable sanitizing agent on porous foods such as leafy vegetables.