sensors will reduce food wastage
London, Sep 24 (IANS) Advances in sensing technology will
help reduce food wastage, causing a loss of 10 billion pounds
($20 billion) annually in Britain alone, according to a report.
Sensors can detect early indications of food spoilage before
visual signs are apparent, identify toxins and monitor water
and nutrient concentration within the soil to improve irrigation
"The government's 'food matters' document highlights
that the production and disposal of food not only costs billions
but contributes significantly to the UK's greenhouse gas emissions,"
said Phil Cooper, director of the Sensors & Instrumentation
Knowledge Transfer Network.
"New developments in sensing technology are helping to
improve the efficiency of everyday processes, reduce costs
and benefit the environment," said Cooper.
"One example is a University of Manchester project which
is developing a low-cost sensing device to help slash the
UK's food wastage bill," he added.
The Syngenta Sensors University Innovation Centre (UIC) aims
to develop affordable sensors which monitor critical factors
throughout the food supply chain, reports Eurekalert.
"Currently 'best before' dates are set by manufacturers
and are based on worst case assumptions about the condition
of our food between harvest and consumption. Most food is
perfectly ok to eat days after its displayed best before date,"
said Bruce Grieve, UIC director.
The new printed sensors are based on radio frequency identification
(RFID) tags and will be modified to have battery-free data
storage. Pulses of energy from transmitters will provide enough
power to transmit data. This should minimise the size and
costs of each sensor from 5-25 pounds to less than 5 pence.
The UIC sensing technology will be licensed and ready for
production in 2009.
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