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Rangées de graines.. © INRA, Elena Schweitzer © Fotolia

Our results

  1. Introduction
  2. Research and Innovation 2018 - For Food and Biobased Products
  3. Dry-cured ham: a process simulator can now define routes of manufacture that yield lower-salt products
  4. Does organically-farmed meat contain fewer chemical contaminants?
  5. The way in which proteins aggregate when heated may change their sensitising potency
  6. Enhancing the viability of spray-dried probiotic bacteria by stimulating their stress tolerance
  7. Human milk digestion in the preterm infant: impact of technological treatments
  8. Research & Innovation 2017 - For Food and Biobased Products
  9. To stick or not to stick? Pulling pili sheds new light on biofilm formation
  10. When biopolymers selfassemble: a balance between energy and entropy.
  11. Mimicking the gastrointestinal digestion in a lab-on-a-chip:the microdigester
  12. How a milk droplet becomes a powder grain
  13. Research & Innovation 2016 - For Food and Bioproducts
  14. A new process for the biorefining of plants
  15. Under the UV light : the bacterial membrane
  16. Reverse engineering or how to rebuild ... bread!
  17. Green Chemistry: a step towards lipid production in yeast
  18. Individually designed neo-enzymes for antibacterial vaccines
  19. Multi-scale mechanical modelling: from the nanometric scale to the macroscopic properties of bread crumb
  20. Minimill: 500 g to assess the milling value of soft wheats
  21. Microbial production of lipids for energy or chemical purposes
  22. The discrete role of ferulic acid in the assembly of lignified cell wall
  23. Eco-design of composites made from wood co-products
  24. Analysis of volatile compounds enables the authentication of a poultry production system
  25. Nanoparticles as capping agents for biopolymers microscopy
  26. Pasteurisation, UHT, microfiltration...All the processes don't affect the nutritional quality of milk in the same way
  27. Integration of expert knowledge applied to cheese ripening
  28. Controlling cheese mass loss during ripening
  29. The shape memory of starch
  30. Research & Innovation 2015 - For Food & Biobased Products
  31. Behaviour of casein micelles during milk filtering operations
  32. Overaccumulation of lipids by the yeast S. cerevisiae for the production of biokerosine
  33. Sequential ventilation in cheese ripening rooms: 50% electrical energy savings
  34. An innovative process to extract bioactive compounds from wheat
  35. Diffusion weighted MRI: a generic tool for the microimaging of lipids in food matrices
  36. Characterization of a major gene of anthocyanin biosynthesis in grape berry
  37. New enzyme activity detectors made from semi-reflective biopolymer nanolayers
  38. Improving our knowledge about the structure of the casein micelle
  39. Heating milk seems to favour the development of allergy in infants
  40. Fun with Shape
  41. Using volatile metabolites in meat products to detect livestock contamination by environmental micropollutants
  42. SensinMouth, when taste makes sense
  43. A decision support system for the fresh fruit and vegetable chain based on a knowledge engineering approach
  44. SOLEIL casts light on the 3D structure of proteins responsible for the stabilisation of storage lipids in oilseed plants
  45. A close-up view of the multi-scale protein assembly process
  46. Controlling the drying of infant dairy products by taking water-constituent interactions into account
  47. Polysccharide nanocrystals to stabilise pickering emulsions
  48. Discovery of new degradative enzymes of plant polysaccharides in the human intestinal microbiome
  49. A durum wheat flour adapted for the production of traditional baguettes
  50. Virtual modelling to guide the construction of « tailored-made » enzymes
  51. How far can we reduce the salt content of cooked meat products?
  52. Diffusion of organic substances in polymer materials: beyond existing scaling laws
  53. Smart Foams : various ways to destroy foams on demand !
  54. Dates, rich in tannins and yet neither bitter nor astringent
  55. Sodium content reduction in food
  56. Research & Innovation 2014

A decision support system for the fresh fruit and vegetable chain based on a knowledge engineering approach

To extend the short shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables, reducing O2 content in the atmosphere surrounding the product could be an alternative solution to the intensive use of cold storage. Modified atmosphere packaging relies on adequate gas (O2/CO2) permeabilities of the packaging material well suited to the respiration of the product. We have developed a mathematical model coupling mass transfer and respiration reaction models in the food / packaging system that could be used to properly dimension the packaging material in a more rational way. In the framework of the EcoBioCap european project, this modelling tool will be integrated to a more complete decision support system that will take into account the preferences, acceptances and needs of the different stakeholders of the food packaging chain.

Marché de Copacabana ,à Rio de Janeiro. Etale de fruits et légumes tropicaux. Légumes préparés pour la vente.. © INRA, BOSSENNEC Jean-Marie

A mathematical model that makes it possible to model gas transfers and respiration reactions in the packaging/product couple was considerably refined and validated during a French National Research Agency (ANR) project, TAILORPACK, financed by the ANR.  An Internet application is accessible to all of the project's partners and stakeholders in the sector through the CTIFL (Centre Technique des Industries des Fruits et Légumes).
To improve this application and develop a decision-making tool (known as DSS) for customised packaging, researchers developed a new decision support tool within the framework of the European EcoBioCap project (2011-14) for the design of biodegradable packaging made from renewable resources, based on a knowledge engineering approach.  It is intended for the food packaging sector and targets the fruit and vegetable sector in particular.  
The figure below illustrates the approach used to develop this tool.  The aim of this approach is to be able to draw up recommendations supported by the choice or the design of a packaging solution for a target food product.  It is based on a multi-criteria analysis of the preferences expressed by the stakeholders in the sector, taking the characteristics of different types of packaging recorded in a database into account.
Illustration of the knowledge engineering approach

Figure 2 : Présentation synthétique de la démarche d’intégration des connaissances. © INRA
Figure 2 : Présentation synthétique de la démarche d’intégration des connaissances © INRA

Research takes place in three steps:
1.    Capitalisation of information concerning the sector studied (characteristics of the product and packaging materials) using the latest techniques for mining data from heterogeneous sources in order to store them in databases linked to the DSS;    
2.    Modelling the requirements/preferences of the different stakeholders in the sector (e.g., packaging manufacturers, agri-food producers, users, consumers, etc.); identification of obstacles such as contradictory points of view, attempts at compromise, etc.;
3.    Modelling scenarios (e.g., choice of biodegradable packaging for ‘Charlotte’ strawberries, preferably transparent and with a price below 1.5 euros/kg, etc.) by database query.

A knowledge engineering approach for decision support  

This decision support system aims at proposing some argued and ranked packaging solutions for a given application, with a special emphasize on bio-sourced and biodegradable material. The design of this tool relies on knowledge engineering models to realize a multi-criteria analysis of argued constraints and preferences of the different stakeholders and to assess different scenarii thanks to a flexible querying of a packaging database.
The most significant development more specifically concerns the decision-making process that, beginning with the specifications of the type of packaging desired (food to be packaged, shelf life, conservation temperature, etc.) - the result of a consensus between the stakeholders in the sector - provides a list of the most relevant packaging solutions.
More precisely, on the basis of the specifications and within the framework of a reverse engineering approach, the optimal technical characteristics of the packaging (oxygen and CO2 permeability) are determined by digital simulations carried out on the basis of Tailorpack mathematical models.  The materials selected on the basis of these technical criteria are studied from the point of view of constraints (e.g., cost) and preferences (e.g., transparent material that can be composted, using local renewable resources, etc.) of the tool user in order to identify the packaging solution that most effectively corresponds to a series of criteria that may sometimes appear to be contradictory.   

The decision support process implemented is robust and unique in that it was designed to automatically take account, on the one hand, of uncertainties linked to scientific knowledge and the reliability of available data and, on the other hand, because it required the design of an original multi-criteria optimisation method based on database query that makes it possible to come up with a list of the most relevant packaging solutions. 


Which arbitration model to use in the packaging sector ?   

In this project, we assume that the specifications of the desired packaging are the result of a consensus between the stakeholders in the sector, including researchers and developers of new materials.  Nevertheless, since the aims of the stakeholders may be divergent, decision-making is based on the resolution of arbitration problems.    
A scientific approach, innovative within the field of sector analysis, will be carried out within the EcoBioCap project and will make it possible to introduce elements to explain the decision-making process.  Several open questions are being studied:  what type of representation, what reasoning model can take the existing contradictory points of view into account?  How can the divergent priorities of the different stakeholders be reconciled?  How can we develop a decision support system capable of resolving conflicts and leading to a compromise?    

A knowledge engineering approach based on argumentation

The teams involved intend to propose a generic method based on argumentation to aggregate the preferences of the stakeholders in the sector.  The approach is innovative at both the level of theory and of application.  In fact, few references can be found in the international literature pertaining to the informed decision, with a first formal article that appeared in 2009.  However, it is an approach that appears to be extremely relevant in terms of support for decision-making in the sectors and even seems capable of eliminating some of the essential obstacles linked to arbitration within the sectors such as the analysis of the stakes, the consequences of a decision and the explanation of the process that led to a decision.  The packaging sector is particularly well adapted to the implementation of this approach as a result of its dynamism, its wealth in terms of innovation and its many safety, environmental and technico-economic constraints.   


This work was funded by the French National Research Agency within the framework of the ANR Taylorpack
The project will continue with the partners of the European Project EcoBioCap - Ecoefficient Biodegradable Composite Advanced Packaging


See also

  • A flexible bipolar querying approach with imprecise data and guaranteed results. Destercke S., Buche P., Guillard V. Fuzzy sets and Systems 2011 169 (1): 51-64.
  • Interval analysis on non-linear monotonic systems as an efficient tool to optimise fresh food packaging. Destercke S., Guillard V. (2011) Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 2011 79(2) : 116-124.
  • Data reliability assessment in a data warehouse opened on the Web. Destercke S., Buche P., Charnomordic B. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 2011 7022 pp174-185. Proceedings of FQAS’11, Flexible querying and answering systems
  • Modified atmosphere packaging of fruits and vegetables : modeling approach. Guillaume C., Guillard V., Gontard N.. In: Martin-Belloso, Soliva-Fortuny (Eds), Advances in fresh-cut fruits and vegetables processing 2011 (pp 255–284). Boca Raton: CRC Press.
  • the European Project EcoBioCap - Ecoefficient Biodegradable Composite Advanced Packaging