Project Details


Main research question/goal
The research project EXTENDLIFE aims to develop natural ingredients for the food industry, which – after scientific tests and proofs - can be used as a natural preservative, to replace the current (mostly) synthetic preservatives. Preservatives play an important role in the prevention of food waste and early spoilage. They inhibit microbial growth and prevent or considerably slow the spoilage process. They limit also the oxidation of the food and thus preserve product quality. The current (often) synthetic ingredients are cheap and effective, but they suffer from a negative perception among some consumers, that associate “synthetic” with "less healthy". The food producers do not yet have enough effective natural alternatives.

Research approach
Based on literature, patents and market studies on existing products, we select a number of natural ingredients to study. We determine the odor threshold for the various ingredients so that the Maximum Organoleptic acceptable Concentration (MOC) of each individual product is known. Then we determine the antimicrobial (AM), antifungal (AF) and antioxidant (AO) functionality at the MOC. We mix the most functional natural ingredients at MOC concentrations in various combinations. The objective is to achieve a mixture of ingredients with AO, AM and/or AF functionality. We test the mixtures with the strongest activity in food model systems for the bakery and meat sector. Finally, the follow-up of the research takes place and we ensure that the knowledge gained is transferred to the companies from the target group.

At the end of the project an overview document will be made with the scientific and technical state of the art about natural AO/AM/AF ingredients and their application in the meat and bakery sector. The Maximum Organoleptic detectable Concentrations (MOCs) of the various AM/AO/AF ingredients are known at the end of this project and the effectiveness in these doses is provided. Practical knowledge is built around the mixtures of the natural ingredients, which are organoleptic acceptable and which provide AO + AF or AO + AM functionality. This functionality is applied and validated in model products (meat and cake). The researchers foresee time to guide to companies in the interpretation and application of the results. It is expected that the knowledge and applications arising from EXTENDLIFE, will strengthen the competitiveness of the companies, which may result in economic growth.
Effective start/end date1/01/1731/12/19