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Shelf Life Predictions & Stability Measurements for Foods

Posted September 9, 2019

Understanding and predicting food stability is essential to the food industry.  Traditional storage trials, modelling, accelerated shelf-life trials, challenge trials, and kinetic assays play a role, but are often found to be inadequate.

The Seeker is looking for new ways to measure biochemical and/or chemical stability (e.g. off-flavor formation) in food products to make decisions or to assign shelf-lives to food products.  Specifically, the Seeker requires methods to measure changes to food quality that may arise from only very small compositional changes relative to a high background.

Image credit: Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 4.0

This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.


Most food manufacture is dedicated to producing foods that are not immediately consumed, but are stored and transported to be available as needed.  When food is used, it is expected to be in as good a quality state as it was when it was first manufactured.  To take the risk of storing and transporting foods, the food industry needs to have confidence in the knowledge of how long food will last. Thus, understanding and predicting food stability is essential to the food industry and its customers.

The Solver is expected to identify principles for analytical (bio)chemical methods that measure very small changes that occur in food products in a relatively short period of time. This will allow an estimation of reaction rates. Changes could be due to reactions such as lipid oxidation, Maillard reactions, enzyme-catalyzed lipolysis and enzyme-catalyzed proteolysis. Methods should not affect reaction kinetics

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on October 6, 2019

Source: InnoCentive

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