SP.20.018 – Plasmas for sustainable food production

Route: Sustainable production of safe and healthy food

Cluster question: 015 How can we make agricultural production systems more sustainable as the worldwide demand for healthy, safe food continues to grow?

Prevention of food waste is one of the measures that has been adopted by EU member states to make food systems more sustainable (Sustainable Development Goal 12.3). It is estimated that globally, a third of all food produced is lost or wasted between the farm and the fork and microbial spoilage forms a significant part of the current food losses worldwide. To sustain food production for a growing population in a sustainable way we need new approaches to use less water and to reduce amounts of energy used in food production but without compromising food quality and safety.
Cold plasma (ionized gas) technology is a water and residue free disinfection method that has the potential to address this global societal issue. Recent advances in the field have shown that plasma offers opportunities to tackle recalcitrant microbial contaminants on (a)biotic surfaces such as bacterial and fungal spores, and viruses, that cause food spoilage or safety issues.
It is the aim of this programme to exploit cold plasma technology as sustainable method to tackle microbial contaminants including biofilms relevant across the food production chain. More specifically, the partners will focus on the interaction of cold plasma with targets and to unravel plasma ionization and reactive molecules to elucidate mechanisms of microbial inactivation and possible microbial damage repair mechanisms enabling optimization and innovations in cold plasma technology.
Achieving the programme goal requires an interdisciplinary team. The consortium consists of experts in microbial ecology and physiology, adaptive stress response, functional genomics, mild processing, and food quality and safety from Wageningen University & Research (WUR), and experts in non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasma physics and chemistry and pulsed power systems from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). Combination of expertise at WUR and TU/e enables innovation and fine-tuning cold plasma applications for best microbial inactivation efficacy.


cold plasma, food safety, ionized gas, Non-thermal plasma, residue and waterfree disinfection

Other organisations

Wageningen Universities and Research (WUR)


Organisation Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
Name Dr. A. (Ana) Sobota
E-mail a.sobota@tue.nl
Website https://www.tue.nl/en/research/researchers/ana-sobota/