MIDECO: CO2 technology to kill pathogens in food

New CO2 decontamination technology combats pathogenic microorganisms in food with low water activity

Food safety

In the focus of research: the almond as a food with low water activity.

Project aims

The objective of the German-Canadian research cooperation between Fraunhofer UMSICHT and the University of Alberta (Canada) is to develop a decontamination technology using compressed carbon dioxide that kills pathogenic microorganisms in foods with low water activity while also guaranteeing high food quality. The research focuses on almonds as a model matrix for foods with low water activity. The aim is to transfer the technology concept to other food products. Testing will initially take place on a laboratory scale and will then be transferred to a pilot plant station scale.

Guarantee of food safety and food quality

Above all children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system are susceptible to food poisoning caused by the consumption of microbially contaminated food. According to a study by the World Health Organization, one in ten people suffers from food poisoning once a year. This means that there are 600 million cases of illness and 420.000 deaths worldwide every year. In recent years, more and more foods with low water activity have been affected by recalls of contaminated products. These foods include almonds, peanuts, nut pies, dried fruits and vegetables, dried meat, dairy products (e.g. milk powder), and dried teas, herbs, and spices.

For the food industry, this global development results in an urgent need for decontamination technologies that can be used internationally and guarantee high food quality in addition to food safety. The MiDeCO2 project addresses precisely this objective.

Important contribution to federal strategy

MiDeCO2 makes an important contribution to the National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030 by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). With this strategy, the German government has laid the foundations for the vision of a sustainable bio-based economy by the year 2030, in which, among other things, securing the world's food supply and producing healthy and safe food play a central role.

Project partners

Universität von Alberta (Kanada)

Duration: January 2017 to December 2019
Funding code: 031B0107
Website: www.bmbf.de