Food Quality, Processing and Safety





Concept development of full-scale soluble gas stabilisation (SGS) technology for seafood.

Seafood products packaged in a modified atmosphere (MA) have lately taken major market shares in Europe where the products range from minced products to a wide range of fresh fillets, shellfish and mussels. The effect of MA packaging is generally determined by the amount of available carbon dioxide (CO2) to dissolve into the food. This is again given by the composition of the packaging gas mixture and the degree of filling (i.e. volume of product vs. volume of package). Percentages between 25 and 33 is recommended for seafood, both to ensure bacteriostatic CO2 availability and to prevent packaging collapse, known as “snug down” effect. Normal degree of filling is usually undesirable because of the low packaging efficiency, and a novel way of reducing the packaging size is by dissolving the CO2 into the product before packaging, which in turn improve logistics and distribution of the products. Previous laboratory experiments have shown that 1 to 2 hours in pure CO2 at low temperatures (0-4 °C) is sufficient for several actual products. Degree of filling can then be increased without compromising product quality or shelf-life. This method is called “Soluble Gas Stabilization (SGS)" and has a potential to 1) increase the degree of filling, thus providing better packaging efficiency and give improved logistical solutions, and/or 2) enhance the product shelf-life by maintaining the original degree of filling of the package. 

In this project, we will develop a concept for making SGS technology commercially available. An industrial implementation of the concept will further contribute to a more sustainable value chain for seafood products packaged in MA. This will be, as far as we know, the first concept where this kind of technological solution is developed. Although this project focus on seafood, the technology will be transferable to other industries such as i.e. the meat industry.

Project funded by: Research Council of Norway – HAVBRUK II

Project period: 4 years, 2019-2023

Project Coordinator: Jørgen Lerfall (IBT-NTNU)

Partners: Nofima AS (Norway) and University of Reims (France)


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OPTiMAT is a comprehensive project dealing with marine food resources through the value chain from catching to consumer´s table.

The project consists of four sections:

  1. Technology and product quality
  2. Food safety
  3. Utilisation of rest raw materials
  4. Product efficiency.

At present there are 9 PhD candidates and 1 post doctor working on this project, within the following areas:

  • Microbiota, shelf life and food safety
  • Lightly processed seafood
  • Biofilm formation in the processing line
  • Slaughtering and primary processing of Atlantic salmon
  • Utilization of marine rest raw materials
  • Hygienical design and biofilm
  • Improved utilization of little utilized marine resources (LUR)
  • Downstream processing

Project period: 2016-2023

Project manager: Jørgen Lerfall (IBT-NTNU)

More information about OPTiMAT


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Digitale vurderinger: samarbeid mellom studenter og undervisere for bedre læring

Det overordnede målet i DIGGsam er å utforske om studentaktive læringsformer i kombinasjon med trinnvis opplæring og aktiv deltagelse i medstudentvurdering vil styrke studentenes læring, autonomi og profesjonelle identitet. Arbeidsgivere er opptatt av generiske ferdigheter, som eksempelvis digital kompetanse. Samtidig er det viktig å styrke den profesjonelle identiteten i profesjonsrettede studieprogram. En bachelorgrad i Matteknologi skal gjøre kandidaten klar for arbeidslivet, og derfor er autentisk erfaring i å ta faglige beslutninger og i å vurdere faglig kvalitet viktig ballast. Prosjektet skal bidra til helhetlig sammenheng mellom læringsutbyttebeskrivelser, læringsaktiviteter og vurderingsformer. Prosjektet skal samtidig styrke fagmiljøets kompetanse og motivasjon for digital vurdering av, for og som læring gjennom opplæring, workshops og diskusjon. Prosjektet involverer to emner per studieår.

I første studieår er det fokus på å etablere en kultur for aktiv studentdeltagelse i medstudentvurdering gjennom fysiske workshops, bruk av digitale samhandlingsverktøy og mobiltelefonbaserte responsverktøy. Gruppevis medstudentvurdering av casebaserte laboratorieøvinger og muntlige presentasjoner gjennomføres etter tydelig definerte kriterier.

Gruppevis medstudentvurdering gjennomføres skriftlig gjennom bruk av samskrivingsdokument og muntlig gjennom video i andre studieår. Medstudentvurderingen skal brukes for å forbedre eget arbeid før innlevering. Andre del av studieåret er studentene i praksis; da gjennomføres digitale møter med direkte muntlige tilbakemeldinger på arbeidskrav.

I tredje studieår skal det gjennomføres problembaserte laboratorieprosjekter med individuelle og gruppebaserte medstudentvurderinger, samt bruk av blogginnlegg og fagspesifikke digitale verktøy. Det å ta stilling til og gjøre egne valg for å løse en gitt problemstilling utfordrer studentene ytterligere.

Prosjektet skal bidra til å heve utdanningskvaliteten ved å i) stimulere studentene til å ta en aktiv rolle i egen læring, ii) etablere et læringsmiljø hvor alle lærer av hverandre, iii) gi studentene bred digital erfaring og iv) styrke fagmiljøets pedagogiske kompetanse.

Utviklingen av studentenes profesjonelle identitet, autonomi og læring gjennom studieforløpet skal evalueres gjennom analyseverktøy som utvikles i prosjektet.

Project funded by: Diku - Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education

Project period: 2 years, 2020-2022

Project coordinator: Anita N Jakobsen (IBT-NTNU)

Partners:  NTNU, Department of Teacher Education, NTNU, Department of Physics, NTNU


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Project funded by: Norwegian Research Council

Project period: 2019-2022

Project coordinator: Ana Karina Carvajal (SINTEF Ocean)

Project leader at NTNU: Eva Falch

More information about SUPREME


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METROFOOD-RI – Infrastructure for Promoting Metrology in Food and Nutrition - is a pan-European Research Infrastructure (RI) aimed to promote scientific excellence in the field of food quality and safety. It provides high-quality metrology services in food and nutrition, comprising an important cross-section of highly interdisciplinary and interconnected fields throughout the food value chain, including agrifood, sustainable development, food safety, quality, traceability and authenticity, environmental safety, and human health.

METROFOOD-RI has been selected to the ESFRI Roadmap2018 as mature enough to be implemented within the next ten years. The Action is aimed to support METROFOOD-RI to grow from its current status (research-based network of facilities and skills) to a mature, centrally-coordinated, integrated RI, with the legal, financial and technical maturity required for implementing it. The main objective is to develop the organizational, operational and strategic framework of METROFOOD-RI.

Activities include legal, governance, financial, technical, strategic and administrative aspects carried out in 15 work packages, organised in 3 blocks dedicated respectively to: the organisation of the legal entity that will manage the future RI, i.e. ERIC; define the operation and the operational standards at the level of the whole RI and for the National Nodes, as well as the role of the RI as service-oriented organisation; define the long term activities for the future RI and update the Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda, in response to the actual and future challenges in the agrifood sector and for the Society.

The main outcome will be the establishment of legal and financial commitment for the future ERIC, ensuring long-term common commitment, decision-making and funding engagement. Continuous relations with stakeholders and the user community will be kept in order to ensure the addressing of their needs at the best, and to focus strategies and planned services.

Project period: 2019-2022 

Project leader at NTNU: Turid Rustad (IBT-NTNU)

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The occurrence of Listeria monocytogenes is a well-known challenge in the salmon industry that may pose a risk to consumers when eating lightly processed ready-to-eat (RTE) salmon products. Various scenarios of contamination such as personnel, seawater and the external environment has earlier been studied, but several critical elements in the value chain need further investigation. To achieve increased control more knowledge and effective measures are therefore needed to achieve increased control of L. monocytogenes in Norwegian salmon production. Although the presence of L. monocytogenes in the raw material is relatively low, there have been a few cases of proven listeriosis related to the consumption of Norwegian salmon. In addition, presence of L. monocytogenes can lead to costly withdrawals of whole lots. The last major withdrawal of products already rolled out in the market took place as late as October 2019.

The aim of the project is therefore to increase the knowledge of feed and farming of Atlantic salmon and its importance for contamination of L. monocytogenes in the whole value-chain. The project aim should be achieved by documenting pathways of infection and risk points for L. monocytogenes from the feed factory throughout feed distribution, fish farms and in the end processing plants and pre-packaged fish products, ready for consumption. 

Project funded by: FHF - Norwegian Seafood Research Fund

Project period: 2 years, 2020-2021

Project coordinator: Jørgen Lerfall (IBT-NTNU)

Partners: University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Institute of Marine Research (Norway)

More information about TraceListeria


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Curriculum Development for Sustainable Seafood and Nutrition Security

The Asia-Pacific region continues to be the world’s largest producer of fish. The capture production of the Asia-Pacific region has exceeded 50 percent of world production since 2006. Despite the prominence of fisheries and marine related studies in the region’s HEIs in the last few years, there seems to be a lack of Master programs focusing on Fisheries and Aquaculture Food Security, which the proposed project aims to fill.

The overall aim of the project is to find best practice to develop a new MSc curriculum focusing on sustainable seafood and nutrition security. The MSc curriculum should be offered at nine different universities located in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia (3 in each country). The wider and long-term objective of the project is to make a viable contribution towards achieving sustainable seafood nutrition security in the project region. More specifically the project will have a long-term impact in securing sufficient, safe, as well as environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production of seafood in three of the region´s major aquaculture and capture fisheries producing countries.

The new MSc curriculum will include global issues affecting seafood production and trading, and will promote an understanding of the key factors affecting aquatic food production, post-harvest protocols, post-mortem metabolic events and microbial/chemical processes keys for food safety and quality. Sensory assessment and shelf life extension technologies will also be covered. The curriculum will also examine other key issues in seafood trading such as traceability systems, certifications as well as the impact of governance and legislation on the global seafood sector. One of the aims of the curriculum will be to comprehensively follow the food chain from production through to consumer health and welfare.

Project funded by: ERAMUS+, Key Action 2: Capacity-Building in Higher Education 

Project period: 3 years, 2018 – 2020

Project manager: Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand
Local manager (NTNU): Jørgen Lerfall

Partners: Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand), Maejo University (Thailand), Khon Kaen University (Thailand), Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia), Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia), University of Stirling (UK), NTNU (Norway), EuroTraining (Greece), University of Thessaly (Greece), Jakarta Fisheries University (Indonesia), Can Tho University (Vietnam),  Research Institute For Aquaculture No. 1 (Vietnam) and Nong Lam University (Vietnam)


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Project funded by: Norwegian Research Council

Project period: 2017-2020

Project coordinator: Kristina Norne Widell (SINTEF Ocean)

Project leader at NTNU: Eva Falch

More information about Re-Food


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Digitale verktøy for økt arbeidslivsrelevans i matteknologisk utdanning

The food industry is Norway's second largest industry and is rapidly changing. Thus, educational institutions should be innovative to secure relevant candidates for the industry. Our students gain valuable experience through internships and interaction with representatives from working life through field trips, use of guest lectures and writing thesis given by industrial partners. However, the relevance of a study program cannot simply be assessed based on its connection with the working life that students will immediately enter. An important goal is to equip students for a future characterized by lifelong learning.

The idea behind the project Digitale verktøy for økt arbeidslivsrelevans i matteknologisk utdanning (Digital tools to enhance employability of the Food Technology Bachelor program) is to incorporate the work life perspective into several subjects through use of films, interviews, etc. from the industry. The material is used for guided group discussions in various teaching situations. Digital learning resources and cases are developed in collaboration with the industry. Guided group discussions via digital learning arenas with internship students are done to enhance learning and reflection during the internship period. Food Microbiology concept inventory and attitude surveys have been developed for use as indicators to measure attitudinal changes among students and to evaluate student learning.

Project funded by: Diku - Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education

Project period: 2 years, 2018-2020

Project Coordinator: Anita N Jakobsen (IBT-NTNU)

Partners: Salmar AS, Mattilsynet, Rørosmeieriet, Department of Biological Sciences, NTNU, Department of Teacher Education, NTNU, Department of Physics, NTNU

Cristin-prosjekt-ID: 574507


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Pelagic fish are considered healthy due to the content of high-quality proteins, bioactive peptides, omega – 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, iodine and selenium. Despite this, most of the pelagic fish is not used for human consumption. Most of the Atlantic herring and mackerel landed in Norway and Ireland is frozen and exported (600.000t) to other countries for processing. Most of the Baltic pelagic fish (sprat and herring) is used for fish meal because of the lack of a consumer market. By focusing on consumers expectations on healthy food, both local processing as well as increased use of pelagic fish for human consumption can be achieved. This is crucial in a global nutritional and environmental perspective.

Time-stressed life-style also affects dietary patterns increasing the intake of processed and fast food. Therefore, ready to eat fish products i.e. sous vide products, fishcakes rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and natural antioxidants could be an option for a healthy diet.

In order to guarantee the consumer healthy pelagic fish products, quality and beneficial components should be preserved through the whole processing chain. ProHealth will contribute to overcome the processing challenges and knowledge gaps that hinder the development of healthy pelagic fish food matrixes.

Project period: 2016-2019


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Beer yeast from Trøndelag: isolation and characterization of wild yeasts from Trøndelag for use in brewing

This project aims at providing local yeasts for brewing by isolating and characterizing yeasts extracted from old wooden fermentation tubs collected from the Stjørdal-region. I addition, a selection of wild yeasts species isolated from spontaneously fermented rose hip wine (from an earlier project), will be tested for their beer fermentation ability. The most promising species of yeasts will be used in pilot brewing at the participating craft breweries.

The project is financed by the Regional Research Found (900 000 NOK) and the participating stakeholders: NTNU, Austmann Bryggeri as and Stjørdalsbryggeriet AS.

Project period: 2017-2018

Project manager: Anita N Jakobsen (IBT-NTNU)


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PROMAC will investigate seaweeds as novel raw materials for human food and domestic animal feed applications. Three different species of seaweed, all with significant potential for commercial cultivation in Norway as well as distinct raw material qualities, will be evaluated as alternative sources of proteins and energy in animal feed, and for their health benefits as human food.

The project will:

  1. Assess variation of raw material composition and quality from both harvested and cultured seaweed biomass in relation to environmental and biological factors.
  2. Develop primary processes (washing/dehydration, maturation) which will enhance desired raw material properties.
  3. Establish fractionation and extraction methods best suited to enrich beneficial proteins or remove undesirable anti-nutrients.
  4. Evaluate nutritional and health values of processed macroalgal ingredients for various animal groups and in relation to their distinct digestive systems.

Project period: 2015-2018

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Innovative technological solutions to improve shelf life of lightly processed seafood


  • Develop and optimise new combinations of process- and packaging technology for lightly processed products of salmon, cod and scallops (WP1)
  • Document the conservation effect of macroalgae and develop applications for shelf life extension of seafood (WP2)
  • Generate new knowledge on how the natural microbiota in seafood is affected by processing (WP3)
  • Develop a tool for defining the main factors limiting shelf life of differently processed seafood (WP4)

Industry partners in this project are (from the seafood industry): Dolmøy Seafood AS, HitraLaks AS, Lerow AS, North Atlantic Seaweed AS, Njord Solution AS and Krifofisk AS and (from the supply industry) Tommen Gram AS.

Project financed by: Regional Research Found and seafood industry 

Project period: 2015-2018

Project manager: Jørgen Lerfall (IBT-NTNU)


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The main aim of the project is to improve the microbial and sensory quality and safety of fish from harvest to consumer. The project will focus on farmed salmon and wild cod, which are the major species traded in Europe. Novel handling techniques and combination of innovative preservation technologies will be evaluated. The innovative handling and processing technologies developed will be used to improve control of safety and deterioration of valuable seafood while contributing to nutritional quality and consumer health as well as increased sales and competitiveness of European seafood.

Novel preservation methods to be studied include superchilling and modified atmosphere packaging in combination with chitosan coating and use of protective cultures. Determination of quality parameters include traditional methods such as drip loss, texture and water holding capacity. In addition, development of volatiles will be analysed.
Project period: 2015-2018


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The project BioSuck aims at establishing a decision support system (DSS) that forces a redesign of the food processing industry with regard to an optimized waste collection system. This shall work via vacuum lines and subsequent processing of concentrated waste into bioenergy or recycling of nutrients. The redesign will significantly reduce the quantity of water needed, because when waste is sucked off, considerably less water for cleaning purposes is required. This will accordingly decrease the disposed wastewater and thus reduce costs. The concentrated waste (high organic load fraction) can further be used for a self supply of nutrients (fertilizer, food or feeding purposes) and/or bioenergy generated by subsequent processes (biogas, bioethanol, hydrothermal carbonization).

Project period: 2014-2017

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