Development of Electron Beam and X Ray Applications for Food Irradiation (DEXAFI)

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date



3 - Active - Ongoing

Start Date


Expected End Date


Participating Countries

Republic of Korea
Syrian Arab Republic
United States of America
Viet Nam


The majority of food and agricultural products treated by irradiation are processed in facilities using gamma radiation from cobalt-60 as the source of ionizing radiation. Gamma irradiation is a simple, robust and well-established technology. However, as cobalt-60 might become more difficult to obtain in the future, it is necessary to have other technologies ready to ensure the application of irradiation to food over the long term. Electron beam and X-ray machines employ electricity to generate ionizing radiation. The effects of electron beams and X-rays on food are similar to those of gamma irradiation. However, the use of electrical machine sources for food irradiation on a commercial scale has thus far been limited. A consultancy meeting held in May 2014 identified the need for internationally coordinated research to stimulate the development of machine sources and to establish the conditions that could broaden the choice of technologies to irradiate food. The aim of this CRP is therefore to coordinate research and development (R&D) activities that are prerequisites for the practical implementation of processes using electron beams and X-rays, and to unlock the potential of machine sources for radiation treatment of agricultural and food products. The project will adopt an international and multidisciplinary approach involving cooperative R&D between food scientists, universities, equipment manufacturers, and stakeholders within the agri-food industry.


To remove the obstacles that impede a greater use of electron beam and X ray technologies (machine source irradiation) for food irradiation and propose a broader range of technical options.

Specific objectives

Know if the lethal effects of EB and X rays on foodborne microorganisms are comparable at energies below 300 keV for EB and at energies of 5-10 MeV for X rays.

Know if X ray having an energy ranging from 5.0 to 7.5 MeV can induce short lived radionuclides that could be of toxicological significance.

Propose new concepts of EB and X ray machines that could easily be integrated in existing food processing lines.

Propose novel pre-packaged foods that are safe and convenient through the use of EB or X ray irradiation.

Have reliable dosimetry methods and tools usable for EB and X ray having an energy below 300 keV and for X ray with an energy ranging from 5.0 to 7.5 MeV

On a case by case basis, analyse the pros and cons of the three technological options (gamma, EB and X rays) to enable MSs to make an informed decision.

Contact the project officer



Hoja informativa