Research project
36 | monthsBIOSAN

Biochemical technologies for sanitization of fresh food products

Related toSpoke 02

Principal investigators
Sabrina Dallavalle

Other partecipantsM. Gabriele, G. Avantaggiato, E. Santovito
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Task involved

Task 2.2.2.

Innovative technologies for sanitization of fresh food products to reduce food wastes (in connection with Spokes 3 and 4).

Project deliverables


Definition of optimised process parameters for investigated technologies for food quality and safety requirements (M24).


Testing on a real case scenario of at least two effective systems at pilot scale with biocide or bacteriostatic activity on fresh products (M36).

Interaction with other spokes

State of the art

Fresh food deterioration during storage and distribution is a major concern of the food industry. With the increasing consumer awareness about food safety and quality, there is a high demand for preservative (synthetic)-free foods and the use of natural products as preservatives. Intrinsic factors, such as the activity of endogenous enzymes and bacterial composition, and extrinsic factors, such as handling, storage, and transportation, are involved in the degradation process. The combination of these factors leads to changes in odor, flavor, color, and texture, causing large economic losses for companies involved in the food supply chain. Therefore, innovative and sustainable approaches are needed to limit oxidative degradation processes and preserve food from spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms while maintaining high sensory and nutritional quality and high levels of food safety.

Operation plan

The following strategies will be developed within the project:

  • Use of plant-based and algae-based natural compounds (single molecules or enriched extracts) with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties to reduce degradation reactions in fresh food. The activity will focus on the search for active compounds without toxicity and effects on the sensory properties of food, whose use is also economically viable (UNIMI).  
  • Use of natural products (i.e., yeast cell wall (YCW) and lignin derivatives) as antimicrobials against the most relevant spoilage and pathogenic microbial species (CNR).
  • Application of bio-coatings functionalized with bioactive molecules (e.g., from microalgal biomass used for treating dairy wastewaters) on fresh food products in the post-harvest phase and the analyses of their effects in terms of qualitative parameters (e.g., appearance, weight loss), nutraceutical properties (e.g., phytochemical content, antioxidant activity) and microbiological safety parameters (e.g., microbial load, challenge tests) of untreated, coated, and uncoated food products (CNR).

Expected results

  • Identification of plant extracts/pure natural compounds that significantly reduce the oxidative degradation processes in fresh food.
  • Identification of plant extracts/pure natural compounds as natural food preservatives to extend the shelf life of fresh food.
  • Analysis of the antimicrobial activity of YCW and lignin derivatives on spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms.
  • Valorization of agro-food wastes for the recovery of bioactive compounds and developing innovative, smart, and sustainable bio-coating solutions for perishable food post-harvest-loss reduction.
  • Process parameters optimization for fresh food treatment.
  • Application of at least one decontamination procedure, including YCW or lignin derivatives.
  • Safety and improved nutraceutical and functional properties of developed coated (functionalized) substrates compared to uncoated ones.
  • Improved nutraceutical properties and better food post-harvest life of coated fresh foods compared to untreated/uncoated ones.