LOVE-FOOD is an EU funded project combining innovative results in the field of bio-nanotechnology with modern DNA detection techniques. These patented ideas are applied to detect foodborne bacteria such as Salmonella in dairy products. The European Council recently selected projects funded through the European Framework Programmes with a substantial impact for the economy on a European, national, regional and local level. LOVE-FOOD was selected among these projects.
LOVE-FOOD was recognized as a project where investment in research and innovation has led to an interdisciplinary network of partners working to produce ground-breaking knowledge for the benefit of researchers and enterprises.
The novelty of the project's method lies in the ability to analyse pathogens easily, quickly, accurately and without the need for laboratory facilities. The user places the sample in a credit card-size cartridge, inserts it into a portable device and in a very short time receives a "Yes" or "No" result. Using this method, producers can control the safety of their products themselves at the point of production.
The replacement of an entire laboratory by a cartridge along with the high sensitivity of the method (even one bacterium) is a major innovation in the field of microbiological analysis.
Moreover, the method can be applied to other relevant areas such as clinical diagnostics and environmental analysis.
The importance of the development of fast, easy-to-use, affordable and automated methods to detect pathogens in food for people’s health can be appreciated if one considers the high number of incidences of food poisoning occurring and consequently reported in the news.
Equally important is the consumers’ trust towards the food industry, as the food sector in Europe is one of the largest manufacturing sectors consisting of approximately 270,000 small and large businesses and employing more than 4 million workers. The development of methods which increase food safety, such as the work produced within LOVE-FOOD, is expected to reinforce Europe's competitiveness in the food sector and analytical devices, while at the same time provide a solution to issues regarding the health of citizens.
The project was coordinated by the Research Institute IMBB-FORTH in Greece and consisted of: a research partner (INN-NCSR Demokritos) from Greece, two research (Institute Pasteur, Curie Institute) and one industrial (SENSeOR) partners from France, an industrial partner (Jobst Technologies) from Germany and an academic partner from the Czech Republic (University of Pardubice).