This year, World Food Day marks FAO’s 75th anniversary with the theme “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future.”
Innovative technologies, science and research can all help transform the ways in which we produce and consume food- for the well-being of our communities, our economies, and our planet.
At INL, the Food Cluster applies Nanotechnology to build a future food system that is sustainable and able to secure healthier, tastier, authentic and safer foods, optimising and monitoring the processes all throughout the different parts of the whole food chain.
We develop our work and we focus our activity in the following research domains:
Active/Intelligent Packaging solutions;
Biosensors, microfluidic devices and integrated lab-on-a-chip solutions.
The Food Cluster is focused on specific objectives: healthy ageing, sustainability and wellbeing and is divided into two different research groups – Food Quality and Safety Group & Food Processing Group.
The main objective of the Food Quality and Safety research group is the development of analytical approaches based on the combination of molecular biology (mainly DNA/RNA based methodology) and nano and microfabrication technology in order to provide the food industry and control laboratories with reliable analytical tools.
The methodology is based on working on very specific analytical needs and on using a modular approach for each of the steps of the analytical process. This approach, help us to evaluate and to choose the best method in each case, to have a sound integrated final product, and at the same time a wide range of intermediate products that can be used by themselves to solve specific analytical challenges.
The Food Processing Group focuses its work on three main areas:
The development of smart, active and edible food packaging to extend the shelf life of perishable food and prevent food losses;
Micro and nanoencapsulation of bioactive food ingredients in order to improve their bioavailability (an increase of stability) and enhance their bioactivity (targeting);
Design new and adapted rheological properties in food by modifying the micro- and nanostructure of food polymers such as the production of cultivated meat using 3D Food Bioprinting.
And their main objectives are focused on improving food safety and empower consumers, allowing them to make educated decisions based not on the expiry dates, but on the visual information that the packaging provides about the actual state of food products, to enhance the bioactivity of food components by using innovative encapsulation technologies and to obtain new theological properties.
World Food Day is observed today – Oct. 16 and serves as a reminder that we all play a role in creating a healthier, more sustainable and resilient food system. INL is doing its part because together, we can grow, nourish, and sustain our world.