A revolutionary new sensor for in-field measurements of food safety in leafy vegetables
This project aimed to construct a working prototype of a new-generation Raman sensor that could detect dangerous microorganisms in leafy vegetables, on farm and in the packaging chain.
This project was successful in producing a compact and portable Raman spectroscopy sensor. Although the Raman technology failed to successfully detect bacteria, the methodology was sound as improvements to the sensitivity were obtained throughout the project, and hence these initial results proved encouraging. The sequence of development and testing made significant progress to achieving the successful outcome; however, the undertaking was ambitious and the necessary development and testing proved to be beyond the scope of this project.
The Raman sensor probe was fitted and integrated to the Ladybird robot, and this successfully demonstrated the ability to autonomously inspect vegetables before harvest.
While no tests were undertaken in the packaging chain, the sensor probe developed was sufficiently compact to demonstrate the feasibility of a hand-held. Being a real-time sensor, there would be no reason for any produce to be delivered to the customer without testing.