Services

Focus

Many years, research group VEG-i-TEC has built up experience in food microbiology, vegetable (water) processing technology and fermentation technology.

front

Research focuses on the evaluation of (innovative) technologies to:

  • Reduce water and energy consumption,
  • Limit, and if possible, valorize produced side streams,
  • Optimize food safety as well as (organoleptic) quality of food.

In addition, much attention is also paid to process monitoring, process control and hygienic design. For instance in case of water, water quality for both discharge and reuse is very diverse, nevertheless equally important. Micro-pollutants may not harm consumers as well as the environment and need to be removed in case of danger.

Research is based on a circular economy approach. In particular, maximizing the valorization of by-products and side streams that are generated during food processing (from harvest to finished product), all this with sufficient attention to green technology. Bioactive, nutritional and techno-functional components, such as sugars, lipids, proteins, phenolic components, antioxidants and dyes, can be extracted from these by-products after which they can be reused in various (food) applications.

Advanced Equipment

The laboratory of research group VEG-i-TEC is equipped with a wide range of analytical techniques used for the identification and quantification of extracted components. Spectrophotometric techniques, such as UV-VIS and fluorescence, as well as gas chromatography (GC, GC-MS) are commonly used techniques by VEG-i-TEC laboratory.

However, identification and quantification of these (bioactive) components often requires advanced equipment. Since the beginning of 2020, the laboratory is equipped with liquid chromatography (LC-DAD/RI), ion chromatography (IC) and high resolution chromatography (UPLC-HRMS/MS). This could be realized within a ‘Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship’ (EFRO) project called ‘Open testing and research facilities for top sectors in the West Flemish food industry’, supported by EFRO, Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), TUAWest and Ghent University.

Our Services

  • Fermentation of food products;
  • Bioactivity screening (antimicrobial, antioxidative, enzyme inhibiting activities);
  • Estimation of microbial and chemical hazards (risk assessment);
  • Microbial analysis in food and process water in food systems (pathogens, spoilage organisms, yeasts and molds);
  • Reuse of process water and associated disinfection;
  • In vitro digestion studies to evaluate bioavailability of food components;
  • Enzyme activity measurements and enzymatic testing in food systems;
  • ...

Advice for food industry

Because of the academic research environment, research group VEG-i-TEC can play an advisory role in the interpretation of research results. The laboratory also offers support in the development of project applications.

Some topics in which our experts are already very experienced:

  • Influencing factors on biofilm formation and removal of existing biofilms;
  • Development of food products by fermentation;
  • Correct use of disinfectants in washing water of the vegetable and potato processing industry;
  • Advising optimal technique for removal of pesticides from water in food processing industry;
  • Advising new applications for by-products/side streams in food industry.

More information?