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The German-Austrian Cornet project “MicroplasticATfood”, which began on July 1, 2021, is focusing on high-tech methods to detect microplastics in food as well as preventive measures.
The University of Bayreuth has a wealth of experience in microplastic research and is currently involved in inter-disciplinary case studies that deal with packaging, filling lines, surfaces of solid foods, and soluble food. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will finance the project up to EUR 542,000. About EUR 275,000 has been allocated to Bayreuth.
The Industry Association for Food Technology and Packaging e.V. coordinates the joint project “MicroplasticATfood”. Germany, and ecoplus, the provincial business agency in Lower Austria. It is part the Cornet initiative (Collective Research Networking), which encourages international research projects to benefit small and medium-sized businesses.
The University of Bayreuth and two other research partners will collaborate in the project: the Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research Dresden and Austrian Research Institute for Chemistry and Technology Vienna. The project also includes 55 companies from the food, packaging, and beverage industries. The project partners will work together to create proposals and measures to reduce microplastics in food to protect consumers.
Meanwhile, microplastics have become prevalent in all areas of daily life. The new joint project now focuses on the central aspects of food production and packaging. Close cooperation between research and industry is of crucial importance here. All participants are united in their common interest in avoiding possible risks that can result from the contamination of food with microplastics. The more precisely we know how and to what extent microplastics can get into our food, the more effective are the prevention measures we can develop together with the participating companies.”
Dr Christian Laforsch, Professor and Chair of Animal Ecology I and Spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Centre “Microplastics”, University of Bayreuth
The University of Bayreuth is working closely with its partners in Dresden, Vienna and Vienna to develop analytical detection methods for microplastics.
“We will optimize and develop our analytical methods for different food types. This will allow us to give reliable data to our industrial partners on the potential degree of microplastic contamination in their products as well as its source, such as during production or packaging. These results will enable us to jointly develop solutions and optimization strategies with these companies that will ultimately benefit consumers,” Dr. Martin Loder, who is leading the research in the “MicroplasticATfood”, project, says. He also works with Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch, University of Bayreuth. The project is located in the interdisciplinary area of Food & Health Sciences.
The project partners will optimize the detection of microplastics in the various product groups during the initial stage. To determine if microplastics can be introduced into food, the first step is to examine plastic-filled containers for drinks and food packaging.
The project will continue to focus on beverages, foods that dissolve in water like salt and sugar, as well as the surfaces of solid foods such meat, fish, cheese, and other foods. The project partners will investigate whether microplastic particles are introduced to everyday foods through processing equipment or packaging.
The cornet initiative Cornet (Collective Research Networking), connects national and regional programs of collaborative research from different nations. Cornet currently has 15 funding agencies and ministries from North, South, and East Asia. This initiative in Germany is based upon the Industrial Cooperative Research program (IGF), which is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It is designed to promote the interests of small- and medium-sized businesses, primarily through international research.
University of Bayreuth