Food fermentation is a processing technology that uses the growth and metabolic activity of microorganisms to transform foods. Fermentation is undertaken to stabilise perishable agricultural products. In addition, the process has evolved to become a key tool to optimise quality in food production. One example is a process based on the reuse of waste in which CO2 is captured and used in processes of product carbonisation (mainly of fermented drinks), and as a mechanism to exert counterpressure on fermentation tanks in order to empty them. Direct real-time monitoring of the production chain (whether at-line or in-line) can be used to ensure standardisation and carry out optimum adjustments to the biochemical fermentation process, to ensure the quality and high organoleptic properties of the final product.
The sensQ project, in which researchers from the AntennaLab research group of CommSensLab-UPC at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC) participate, enables real-time, at-line/in-line monitoring of the metabolic activity of microorganisms in fermentation processes of the agri-food sector, through optical magnetometry sensing technologies.
This sensing obtains results faster and more directly than current laboratory methods that have a latency of 24 hours (or more) to obtain the results. Therefore, by using sensQ the (food and drink) agri-food sector can verify more precisely the standardisation of fermentation processes to ensure the quality of products and optimise the recovery of waste generated to be reused in other processes.
SensQ has a Budget of €50,000 through a subsidy from the Rural Development Programme of Catalonia 2014-2022 of the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda (Catalan Government). The period of execution of the project is from December 2021 to June 2024.