IP protection




Please provide a short description of the state-of-the-art and/or current trends in the field? How does the result fit into it?
Growing consumer awareness of the importance of healthy eating habits combined with the evolution in lifestyles has significantly increased the demand for ready-to-eat fresh fruits and vegetables. The fresh-cut fruit and vegetable market is designed to meet these needs, delivering refrigerated fruit and vegetables in sealed containers after being cut and cleaned, so that they can be eaten raw or utilized for cooking both at home and in catering as well as in industrial processes as semi-manufactured products. For the companies in the field. The production of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables (washed, peeled, grated and cut) is a challenging market as these products deteriorate much faster than when they are whole. In fact the cellular lesions caused by processing inevitably lead to the development of several and complex enzymes with consequent modification in colour and texture, in addition to the formation of off-oudours and off-flavours.

Actual processing of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, based in the application of good manufacturing practices and refrigeration of the product packed in conventional or modified atmosphere, are not sufficient to guarantee enzyme inactivation which is essential for maintain product freshness and the high quality standards required by the consumers.







What is the problem/need/knowledge gap that the research result is responding to?  How was it addressed before?
Traditionally, enzymatic inactivation of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables is performed by blanching. Although very effective, this treatment does not fit with the production of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables as it determines almost complete loss of the sensory characteristics typical of the fresh product. To avoid these undesired effects, some alternative solutions have been proposed based on the use of non-thermal physical treatment such as irradiation with gamma rays, X rays or accelerated electrons, high pressures. It should be noted, however, that these treatments have substantial drawbacks since, although effective, they are not fully accepted by the consumers or too expensive.

The solution most commonly adopted by producers to obtain enzymatic stabilization of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables is therefore based on the addition of substances that act as enzymatic inhibitors, acidulants or molecules that consume the precursors of the enzymatic reactions.





What is the potential for further research?
Food industries may implement different technological strategies based on UV-light exploitation to increase product safety and shelf life as well as to produce food with better quality and added value properties.

It is noteworthy that the application of UV light has favorable costs of equipments and maintenance and does not require any authorization according to EC novel food regulation.





What is the proposed method of IPR-protection? (patent, license, trademark etc.)
After 8/10 months from the filing of an Italian Patent Application, the Italian Patent and Trademark Office provides a search report + opinion done by the European Patent Office on the basis of which it is possible to evaluate the novelty and inventive step of the claims of such patent application; then, by means of a PCT application, it is possible to cover “worldwide” for a stated period of time the solution covered by said patent application and in the meantime to consider the commercial possibility thereof, to promote or to license it







What are the steps that need to be taken in order to secure the IPR-protection? What is the cost of IPR-protection?
Before filing the priority application, it is recommended to carry out a Patent Search in a Pat-lib center, thus having the possibility to trace out and study possible important prior art documents.

At present it is impossible to state an estimate of costs for the most suitable protection for this idea. It is possible to state a range of 5.000/6.000 Euros + VAT to study the idea, to file in Italy the priority application and to study the results of the related search report







What is you overall assessment of the scientific maturity of the research result?
It has to be verified through an industrial application.

Up to now it is possible to underline the potentiality of the idea, also on the basis of the results of the tests done, but for a final judgement the idea needs to be applied in a industrial production line.







Please put X as appropriate. 1 2 3 4 5
Scientific maturity         X
Synergies   X      
State-of-the-art/innovation       X  
IPR-potential         X




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