Testing Food for freshness as well as freedom form disease & decay

Crop Storage: non-destructive testing Swedes for disease

When working on a project involving potatoes with the AHDB (Potato Council) Research Centre they used RoboScientific equipment to check for disease in swedes. These root vegetables were put into a plastic bag and left for a short while to allow the VOCs to collect inside the bag. A small sample of air in the "headspace" was then sucked out and measured. It was found that the results fell into two groups (as shown below in the Red & Green groupings) When these swedes were then cut in half it was found that one group were diseased and one was not and this tallied exactly with the measured groupings. This test proved to be repeatable and 100% accurate. This is a typical example of how the RoboScientific technology can be used for monitoring plants.

It is possible for us to monitor vegetables from the time of picking the crop to its eventual decay taking sample measurements every few hours. This enables us to build a picture of the crop's post harvest life-cycle which could lead to dynamic "Best Before" dating leading to significat reductions in the amount of food wasted. It also means that crops can be monitored in storage to check for abnormal behaviour such as rotting caused by disease or the wrong environment.