Innovating Radiation Processing of Food with Low Energy Beams from Machine Sources

Open for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

23 December 2019


3 - Active - Ongoing

Start Date

11 June 2021

Expected End Date

31 August 2026


In many instances, the irradiation of food using low energy beams may be sufficient to eliminate pathogens, insects, and spoilage organisms. A deeper understanding of the science, technology, and the processes associated with low energy electron beam (LEEB) and low energy x-ray (LEEX) sources and associated equipment can facilitate their use in the food industry for in-house (in-line/end of line) solutions for food safety, phytosanitary and quality challenges. However, a number of lingering scientific, technological, and marketing challenges and unanswered questions remain.  These include efficacy, microbiology, process control, and optimization.  Targeting microorganisms residing on or near food surfaces (e.g. whole shell-eggs, raw whole cuts of meat and poultry, fresh vegetables, dried herbs and spices) with LEEBs or using soft x-rays for phytosanitary applications can be economically-attractive options for the food industry since it will enable treatments to take place in food factory or packing house and avoid the additional logistics and food transportation to remote specialist irradiation service centres.


To promote the innovation of in-line and in-house radiation processing of foods using low energy beams. This will be achieved by conducting research to collect relevant data and increase know how to prepare a solid technical and scientific foundation for the expansion of low energy ebeam and x-ray technologies for food applications. Research outputs covering microbiology, dosimetry, process control and technology will include peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, reports, user cases, and technical presentations.The specific objectives will include:

Specific objectives

1. Developing dosimetry tools and techniques for low energy beams and for specific food items

2. Modelling and simulation of low energy beam process

3. Identifying minimum and maximum target doses to achieve specific end-points on specific products

4. Understanding the quality effects (sensory, nutritional and chemicals) on specific foods when exposed to low energy beams

5. Delineating the D-value and mechanisms of inactivation of microorganisms and insects during low energy beam irradiation

6. Optimizing low energy beam sources and method(s) of product presentation to the beam(s)

7. Conducting low energy beam acceptance studies that target consumers, retailers, wholesalers and distributors

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