Project: Monitoring Functional Molecules in Industrial Processes by Double Slit Raman

2.1. Project description_x000D__x000D_Modern food industrial facilities are under heavy legislative control regarding both quality and documentation of the final product. One way to ensure a fast and reliable control over industrial processes and thereby quick adaptation to deviations in the reaction parameters, is to build process analytical technology (PAT) solutions into the production lines. This need is present all the way from the producers of relatively simple products, such as edible oils to more specialized industries, such as the functional foods and nutraceuticals. A specific need of fast, non-destructive and reliable PAT solutions has been identified to the manufacturers of lycopene based specialty tomato products as these companies deal with easily degradable raw materials, such as fresh fruits. The demand for lycopene has been boosted by the scientific results from studies on the health impact of this molecule. Lycopene is an intermediary molecule on the pathway of carotenoids biosynthesis. The role of these molecules (carotenoids) on the reduction of free radical induced oxidative damaged and improved longevity is generally recognised. Lycopene specifically has been shown to have positive effects on prostate cancer. These results have motivated scientists and the scope of beneficial effects of lycopene is believed to also encompass women related cancers (breast, cervical and ovarian); vision age related damages, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The Asian market is increasing at unprecedented rates and a genetically modified tomato variety, for high levels of lycopene, is already growing in the fields. Pills of Lycopene being sold all around the world._x000D__x000D_It is thus of paramount importance that the fresh tomato is of high quality and has high concentration of Lycopene. However, it has so far been exceedingly difficult to monitor the quality of the tomato in-line with existing PAT solutions which predominantly are based on the use of NIR spectroscopy. This technique has several shortcomings that COly relate to a labour intensive and on-going need for calibration as well as its inability to distinguish between related compounds (lycopene vs. other carotenoids) and an undesired sensitivity to water in the sample (tomato products are high on water). A PAT solution based on Raman spectroscopy is so far not available on the market even though it offers several advantages when compared to the existing solutions. The major advantages of Raman spectroscopy based PAT solutions is the ability to analyze a wider variety of compounds due to the fingerprint properties present in a Raman spectrum combined with a complete insensitivity to water and almost calibration free implementation in an industrial setting. The major reason why the use of Raman spectroscopy in PAT applications has hitherto been hampered can be related to the techniques inherent sensitivity to sample fluorescence as well as a low signal-to-noise ratio. These disadvantages are nevertheless alleviated both by the advances made in chemometric analyses, but more importantly by the development of a state-of-the-art double slit Raman system by the R&D based Danish SME RSP Systems A/S. RSP Systems serves as the CO pillar in the consortium which will be focused on developing a new PAT solution specifically aimed at the producers of food products. In order to meet this ambitious goal a range of Ps have been hand-picked to join the proposed consortium ranging from the R&D intensive RSP Systems to the end user of the final PAT solution represented by the Portuguese FIT – Fomento da Industria do Tomate SA. FIT plans to produce high valued products, based on fresh tomato making the level of lycopene of paramount importance to their Japanese major costumers. The use of Raman fingerprinting based PAT solution offers an ideal method to secure the desired high quality of the product. The industrial P is complemented by the expertise in extraction and purification of carotenoids at the Technical University of Lisbon and the Danish Technological Institute which will add expert knowledge in the field of data analysis and chemometrics to the consortium and will ensure a swift and efficient project management. The combined competences give the consortium the opportunity to undertake the development of a prototype turn-key Raman based PAT solution specifically targeted at first towards the food ingredients manufacturers of specialty products. Nevertheless, the PAT solution will be applicable to a wide range of different companies where fast and reliable PAT solutions are critically important, spanning the pharmaceutical, food and biofuel industries as the system is easily modified to probe other types of reactions with the superior resolution of Raman spectroscopy. The results may have an impact in Asia through the Japanese marketers of functional foods and nutraceutical products._x000D__x000D_

Acronym LycopeneRAMAN (Reference Number: 4906)
Duration 01/09/2009 - 30/11/2012
Project Topic The consortium’s goal is to develop and implement a state-of-the-art solution to facilitate online process control to manufacturers of food products. This is achieved by combination of a novel double-slit Raman mini-spectrometer and advanced on-line chemometric data analysis.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
During the work in the consortium a functional PAT solution has been developed to monitor the content of lycopene in tomato products in an online manner. The PAt solution has been implemented at a large factory, owned and operated by the portuguese company FIT, in two different production lines.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 2

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 RSP Systems A/S Coordinator Denmark
4 Danish Technological Institute Partner Denmark
4 Technical University of Lisbon/ Instituto Superior de Agronomia Partner Portugal
4 FIT - Fomento da Industria do Tomate Partner Portugal