Knowledge Based Bio-Economy


Integrated sensing and imaging devices for designing (Food processing)

Project acronym: InsideFood

Title of project: Integrated sensing and imaging devices for designing

Research area: Food processing

Contract No: 226783

EU contribution: €2 832 282

Start date: May 2009

Duration: 48 months

Status: finalised

Understanding the role of food microstructure is essential to improving or changing the functional properties of foods and developing novel food products and processes. In science and technology terms, the main objective of InsideFood was to provide solutions for sensing the microstructure of foods.

The project was conceived to develop and combine X-ray nano- and microtomography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrocopy, magnetic resonance imaging, optical coherence tomography, acoustic emission and time- and space-resolved reflectance spectroscopy. Techniques were interconnected so as to provide an insight into the effect of microstructure on water and solute status, texture and optical properties, and the internal defects of food. The consortium focused in particular on fresh fruit, processed fruit and cereal products.

The team was able to develop novel instruments and software for inspecting food microstructure, use them to improve understanding of process-structure-property relationships through advanced mathematical models, and then implement them in food processing plants. Food model systems (multiphase gels, foams) and actual foods (cereal products, fresh and dried fruit) were the focus.

To characterise food microstructure, the team used the following non-invasive sensors:

  • Tomography: magnetic resonance (micro)imaging (MRI), X-ray nano and micro computed tomography (mCT), and high-resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • Spectroscopy: time and space resolved NIR spectroscopy, NMR spectroscopy and multidimensional relaxation and diffusion methods

The technologies developed by InsideFood will help increase labour productivity by improving process design and control. The new technologies, products and processes made possible thanks to the InsideFood sensors will help boost the innovation performance of food companies.

The results will enable higher quality and new products, which will, in turn,help increase European food companies’ global competitiveness.

Website of

Coordinator: Bart Nicolaï,

Organisation: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium,