Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

From farm to fork agrifood research

    31/08/2018 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
    Belgium, Melle
    Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO)
    Technology and Food Science Unit

The Flanders Research institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) is a public research institute located in Belgium. ILVO performs multidisciplinary, innovative and independent research aimed at economically, ecologically and socially sustainable agriculture and fisheries. Through this research, ILVO accumulates fundamental and applied knowledge which is vital for the improvement of products and production methods for quality control and the safety of end products, and for the amelioration of policy instruments as a foundation for sector development and agricultural policy for rural areas.

Recently, some important management decisions have been made to orientate the research at ILVO in a holistic framework of systems thinking as well as to combine ILVO's tacit knowledge with new technological approaches like genomics, metabolomics, (remote) sensing technology, precision farming, innovative food production technology. This means that a lot of the research at ILVO is conducted in Living Labs, from farm to food and in the context of precision farming and the One Health principle. To accelerate and further improve this new research process, ILVO is looking to host experienced researchers at post-doc level in the framework of Marie Sklodowska-Curie or other individual fellowships.

Possible research items are:

*Heat transfer and mass transport phenomena in thermal food processing. They are very important, as they determine the processing time and conditions for optimal food quality and safety. We can establish accurate heat transfer models based on thermal properties of food and e.g. enzyme kinetics determined in laboratory conditions (using T-t curves). However, a spatial and temporal discretization of the heat transfer problem will result in exact time-temperature profiles throughout the food, so that the evolution of food quality and safety parameters during thermal processing can precisely be monitored. CFD software (computation fluid dynamics) with numerical modelling techniques can be used to optimize thermal food processing.

*Development and implementation of molecular and mass spectrometric analysis methods for GMO and food allergen testing, including e.g. ELISA, qPCR (quantitative real-time PCR), ddPCR (droplet digital PCR), LC-HRMS methods. Within ILVO’s Food Pilot it is possible to prepare allergen incurred food matrices mimicking real life food processing. This matrices can be used to study the impact of processing on allergens. This can either be focused on detectability (with ELISA, qPCR (quantitative real-time PCR), ddPCR (droplet digital PCR) or LC-MS/MS), on identifying stable proteotypic peptides or on investigating the modifications induced by this processing. The latter two using LC-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS).

* Precision crop farming. As a research institute ILVO cooperates with government, industry, academia, civil participants and of course also with farmers to explore possibilities for innovation and economic added value by the application of remote sensing techniques in agriculture and precision application technologies for plant protection products and fertilisers. In addition, ILVO focusses on integration of data to come to smart solutions that can support farmers in their management. Several national and international projects are currently running within this research field, enabling interested post-doc researchers to perform valuable synergetic activities.

*Livestock emissions (gases, dust, odour). ILVO is the reference institute of the Flemish government for the assessment and development of reduction techniques for livestock emissions (gases, dust, odour). Especially of interest are ammonia emissions from mechanically (pigs and poultry) and naturally ventilated (dairy & beef cattle) animal housing systems. Our research and collaboration efforts aim to develop innovative and widely applicable mitigation techniques (both front- and end-of-pipe). Therefore we study emission and ventilation processes at different scales (lab, test installations, farm) using advanced measuring techniques (e.g. ultrasonic anemometry, FTIR, laser absorption spectrometry, olfactometry) and modelling tools (e.g. mechanistic modelling, Computational Fluid Dynamics). ILVO has a modern test infrastructure, including real life animal houses. Several national and international projects are currently running within this research field, enabling interested post-doc researchers to perform valuable synergetic activities.

*Functional ingredients, functional food,  novel foods, biobased applications from biomass.ILVO has a Food Pilot (www.foodpilot.be) which is a unique technological application centre for the food and allied industry, encompassing complete processing lines for meat, juices, dairy, heating (UHT, sterilisation, pasteurisation), drying, extrusion, mixing and milling as well as analytical labs for microbiology, (bio)chemistry, physico-chemistry, taste panels. The Food Pilot invites professionals and experienced researchers as a Living Lab to perform cutting edge research on food technology, food quality, food authenticity and food safety to produce the food of tomorrow. 

*Bio-informatics and systems biology in the context of gut health research. A new research line has started on gut health of production animals as wel as animals as human model (e.g. mini-pigs). Several influencing factors are investigated such as composition of the diet, antibiotic usage, alternatives for antibiotics, pro- and prebiotics. Analytical approaches such as gut bacterial metagenomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, gut physiology and morphology, .. will be used. A thorough bio-informatics and systems biology approach will be needed to link and interprete the multitude of multidisciplinary data for which experienced researchers are invited to join this research line.