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Work Packages

Project Activities

FoodTraNet is composed of six Work Packages. Three of these are technical work packages to which the ESR projects are related, and the other three relate to organisation and communication.

Further details are given in the next two tabs and in the tables below.

Detailed Work Package Descriptions

The FoodTraNet training network is organised into six Work Packages. These Work Packages optimise the synergy between research topics and stimulate knowledge exchange between beneficiaries, partners, and ESRs. Knowledge and results obtained within one WP will support or stimulate the work of the other WPs. A strong programme for complimentary training will provide ESRs with important transferable skills, while Open Science principles provide new opportunities to disseminate, share, exploit knowledge and collaborate with researchers within and outside the network.

WP1: Advanced methods for food quality, authenticity and traceability (ESRs 1, 2, 3, 5, 14)

Lead: Fondazione Edmund Mach, Centre for Research and Innovation, San Michele All'adige, Italy
Objectives: To identify biomarkers and bioactive compounds using a common platform of novel advanced MS tools including stable isotope (IRMS), target, suspect and non-target screening and MSI to assure food quality and traceability based on statistical and spatial modelling approaches.

Detail: WP1 is about exploiting the state-of-the-art including the use of cutting-edge MS techniques (IRMS, target, suspect and non-target screening and MSI) for determining quality, authenticity and traceability of food. WP1 will also establish statistical and spatial modelling approaches in food traceability systems. A particular attention will be paid to commodities labelled as “Designated Origin” and “Organic” in commodities typical for Mediterranean diet: pasta, rice (ESR1), wine (ESR3), honeybee products (ESR5) and fish (ESR14) and of high economic significance. Stable isotopes of light elements (H, C, N, O, S) together with non-traditional isotopes (S, Pb, Sr) will be used to determine geographical origin (ESR1).

The cultivation origin and differentiation of organic vs conventional farming regimes will be investigated using emerging stable isotope applications and methods such as compound-specific isotopic analysis (ESR1), novel methods such as mass spectrometry-based molecular imaging approaches (ESR3) and target and non-target molecular analysis (ESR5). Further nano-TOF-SIMS and MALDI-MSI will be applied to investigate microplastic contamination of seafood and possible changes in proteomic profiles in organ/tissue regions and its impact on human health (ESR14). This integrating approach based on the data of ESR1, ESR5 and ESR2 (WP2) together with multi-variant statistics and spatial modelling will provide a new generation of food authenticity and quality screening tools to protect customers and industry from food fraud.

WP2: Advanced solutions in food production and safety (ESRs 2, 7, 9, 10)

Lead: University of Antwerp (UA), Toxicological Center, Antwerp, Belgium
Objectives To characterize new functional and alternative sources of food/feed, valorization of food waste and re-use of water to support food safety and security (circular economy)

Detail: WP2 will seek to characterise functional, alternative and novel food and food residues using advanced MS techniques including IRMS, target, suspect and non-target analysis. The focus will be on the circular economy and food security. Its key role will be to identify adulteration and the influence of the feeding/farming (free grazing pasture vs. conventional farming – based on animal feed fibre ratios) (ESR2) in new functional cheese, while ESR9, ESR7 and ESR10 will deal with potential emerging chemicals and safety. It will create expertise and knowledge needed for tackling challenges on the recycling or reuse of food waste and the improvement of resource efficiency (including using wastewater for irrigation – ESR7).

WP2 will also take novel food items of animal and plant origin for human and animal consumption (farmed fish, insect-fed fish, edible insects, beehive products, algae, dietary production) and assess their potential as alternative food and feed sources (ESR2, ESR9, ESR10)

WP3: Advanced materials in food science (ESRs 8, 11, 12, 13)

Lead: University of Maribor, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Maribor, Slovenia
Objectives: To develop and characterize new technologies based on the latest advances in material science and nanotechnology: (1) edible photonic barcodes for food traceability; (2) nano-sensors; (3) smart nanostructured materials for extraction and determination of bioactive compounds and contaminants; and (4) new active and intelligent packaging materials with the aim of improving food safety and reducing food waste.

This WP will develop and bring to the market novel materials and technologies such as edible photonic barcodes, sensors, nanostructured polymers and active and smart packaging. For the first time, edible photonic barcodes (ESR4) will allow the tagging and tracing of food rather than only the packaging (current system). Because of their small size (several tenths of microns), they can be safely embedded in any food without changing its characteristics.

The application of nanotechnology in the food sector offers great possibilities and nanostructured Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) and Super Adsorbent Polymers (SAPs) will allow the selective extraction and/or simultaneous determination of bioactive compounds and CEC in food (ESR8). Two smart packaging materials will be developed aimed at reducing spoilage thus reducing food waste. These will include: (1) biodegradable smart biopolymers with nanostructured surfaces (ESR12) and (2) commercial PET, PP and other polymer materials (ESR13) both having antimicrobial, biocompatible, anti-adhesive properties. The latter will have integrated opto-chemical based sensoric capabilities (ESR11).

At the core of WP3 is the use of MS techniques, which we will use for characterising smart packaging surfaces and their potential of migration into food. The aim of this WP is also to design and implement the end-user products and the feasibility of their up-scaling into production.

WP4: Network Training (all ESRs)

Lead: Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Objectives: To provide and deliver a comprehensive training programme for FoodTraNet ESRs to develop their technical and transferable skills, thereby enhancing their future employability.

WP4 organizes all Education, training activities and intensive workshops and will expand the transferable skills and academic background knowledge of the ESRs as to produce well-educated researchers ready for the academic and industrial challenges facing the food industry. All training activities start with recruitment and end with the award of the doctoral degree. The actual defence of the PhD may occur outside project timeline (48 months) depending on the academic system the ESR is enrolled in.

WP5: Dissemination, Communication, Exploitation and Outreach (ESRs 6, 15)

Lead: WRG Europe Ltd, Exeter, United Kingdom
Objectives: To meet and deliver the dissemination and communication targets of the FoodTraNet work plan. To create and develop a sustainable industrial strategy liaison group. To ensure that the food sector and beyond are impacted in a timely manner by the FoodTraNet project findings. To extend existing frameworks of understanding in respect of consumer awareness and perspective related to food authenticity and traceability, new food alternatives and food waste connected to the circular economy and the use of new technological advances based on nanotechnology. To develop an integrated consumer assurance protocol framework and toolkit for trust, to assure food quality and traceability throughout the supply chain.

WP5 focusses on dissemination, communication, exploitation and outreach aimed at informing the scientific community, local SMEs and larger business, financial stakeholders and other relevant parties of the scientific, economic, and social value of FoodTraNet. The centralised coordination platform in support of delivering such a complexity of diverse dissemination activities will operate in conjunction with ISO-FOOD Era Chair activities.

Furthermore, ESR15 will establish new approaches and models for more efficient communication with consumers (SO4) in terms of: (1) food labelling claims such as ‘organic versus conventional’, ‘Protected Designation of Origin’, ‘Protected Geographical Indication’ (WP1); (2) new food items, use of food waste and circular economy (WP2) and (3) the acceptance of new nanotechnologies including smart packaging in relation to (WP3). On the other hand, ESR6 will develop a common strategic platform of confidence and protection based on new and emerging food authenticity screening tools to assure food legitimacy, quality and traceability. Due to the nature of this investigation, research from both ESRs is a valuable contribution to WP5.

WP6: Management

Lead: Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Objectives: To administer a well-planned, well-managed research training programme for 15 ESRs. To ensure the optimal and proportionate contribution of all beneficiaries and partners. To ensure delivery of all scientific, technical, training, communication and management targets.

JSI will lead WP6 through the management group, ensuring effective management of the ETN. All beneficiaries will contribute. Principal Tasks: to develop the Consortium Agreement; make beneficiaries aware of their obligations under the MSCA contract; endorse the decisions of the Supervisory Board; initiate and oversee the recruitment process; produce clear guidelines for submission of all report types e.g. technical, career development and exploitation plans, training portfolios etc., organise network meetings and network-wide training events; develop the FoodTraNet website and social media outlets; distribute EC funds to beneficiaries; be the main contact with the EC and be responsible for submission of EC reports.

ESR Project Descriptions relating to these work packages can be found here.