I3A - Instituto de Investigación en Ingeniería de Aragón

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GUIAUniversity Analytical Research Group

Research Lines

Processes & Recycling

Food packaging

Research on food-packaging interactions. Studies of food safety related to the packaging: migration test (global and specific), analysis of food packaging components (additives, adhesives, inks...

Research on food-packaging interactions. Studies of food safety related to the packaging: migration test (global and specific), analysis of food packaging components (additives, adhesives, inks, ..) and NIAS (non intentionally added substances). Design and development of active and intelligent packaging. Design and development new materials with antioxidant properties based on nanoparticles.

Environmental research

Environmental studies. Development of analytical methodologies for the analysis of pollutants (PAHs, nitro-PAHs, oxi-PAHs, PCBs, heavy metals, etc).

Environmental studies. Development of analytical methodologies for the analysis of pollutants (PAHs, nitro-PAHs, oxi-PAHs, PCBs, heavy metals, etc).

Development of analytical methodologies

Development of analytical methodologies in different areas such as packaging, environment, food, cosmetics or biological fluids.

Development of analytical methodologies in different areas such as packaging, environment, food, cosmetics or biological fluids.

Risk analysis (GUIAR group)

Evaluation of technological risks, major accidents in industry (chemical hazard) and risk analysis. Development of emergency plans and self-protection plans. Evaluation of security reports on the...

Evaluation of technological risks, major accidents in industry (chemical hazard) and risk analysis. Development of emergency plans and self-protection plans. Evaluation of security reports on the frame of Seveso directive.

Key Projects

Processes & Recycling

HECATE: Desarrollo de un producto tecnológico para minimizar la problemática del transporte de mercancías peligrosas. INNPACTO
Development of a new active packaging material for fresh meat and for mushrooms. INNPACTO
Development of a new active packaging material for minimallly processed nectarine (peaches) (IV gamma). INIA-INNPACTO
Development of an antimicrobial active packaging for paper and board

REPSOL (Rylesa) (private financement): Development of an antimicrobial active packaging for paper and board. PCT patent, extended to many countries. Studies to widen the scope of the patent and...

REPSOL (Rylesa) (private financement): Development of an antimicrobial active packaging for paper and board. PCT patent, extended to many countries. Studies to widen the scope of the patent and the applications for food and vegetables.

iPack

Industrial development of the intelligent sensor. Extension of the PCT patent. New developments to widen the scope of the sensor as an indicator for deadline of packaged food. (Private financement...

Industrial development of the intelligent sensor. Extension of the PCT patent. New developments to widen the scope of the sensor as an indicator for deadline of packaged food. (Private financement).

AGL-04363

Development of analytical methods for migration. Development of an intelligent packaging for detecting mirobiological infection. PCT patent further extended to 69 countries. (Plan Nacional).

Development of analytical methods for migration. Development of an intelligent packaging for detecting mirobiological infection. PCT patent further extended to 69 countries. (Plan Nacional).

MIGRESIVES

Study of the most representative adhesives used in food packaging in the market. DIffusion and partition coefficients of different components through different layers in multilayer structures. New...

Study of the most representative adhesives used in food packaging in the market. DIffusion and partition coefficients of different components through different layers in multilayer structures. New electronic tool to predict the migration from adhesives. Experimental data on migration and correlation between the prediction and the experimental data. Study of samples from the market. Identification of NIAS. Development of analytical methods. (EU Project).

SAFEMTECH

Study of adhesives in food packaging. The SAFEMTECH proposal has two main scientific objectives: a) the study of the safety in use of adhesives produced at the GOGLIO company and used in the...

Study of adhesives in food packaging. The SAFEMTECH proposal has two main scientific objectives: a) the study of the safety in use of adhesives produced at the GOGLIO company and used in the production of food packaging materials, and b) the development of active and intelligent packaging systems at industrial level. GOGLIO is a multinational company involved in the whole food packaging chain. It produces adhesives, printing inks, valves and laminates for food packaging. The research group GUIA of the Universidad de Zaragoza (UNIZAR) has considerable expertise in the study of the performance of adhesives in food packaging and their safety in use, as well as in the development and study of active and intelligent food packaging materials. The leader of the group is the inventor in four international patents in this area. The combination of intersectoriality and synergies between the two partners involved in this proposal will lead to the achievement of the objectives.

  • Period: 2010-2014
  • Leader (U. Zaragoza): Cristina Nerín
  • Funded by: European Union (7th FW Programme IAPP-Marie Curie) – Ref. 251382

Key Technologies

Processes & Recycling

Intelligent sensor reacting on the presence of pathogen microorganisms in the food

A new intelligent sensor, reacting on the presence of pathogen microorganisms in the food, has been developed. This is a colorimetric sensor which is efficient for a wide range of common food...

A new intelligent sensor, reacting on the presence of pathogen microorganisms in the food, has been developed. This is a colorimetric sensor which is efficient for a wide range of common food pathogens. It also works as deadline indicator for packaged food. A PCT patent has been asked. This has been approved as an INNOCASH Project in the last call (National level) and it is now in proceeding between an important multinational company and the University of Zaragoza. Industrial development is in progress.
Nevertheless, in spite of all the achievements, the research goes on and new gaps arise. New compounds are found to cause migration problems, some of them identified as Non Intentionally Added Substance (NIAS) which affect the safety of the consumers. Many of them come either from adhesives or from printing inks used in food packaging. There is no legislation regulating the adhesive or the printing ink composition and its influence in food packaging. In the MIGRESIVES project we discovered some toxic substances, some of them identified as NIAS, which were classified as Class III by the Cramer List (TTC). However, there are still many adhesive formulations without information and their behaviour in the food packaging, the barrier effects of different materials, the diffusion and migration of their components throughout the packaging materials is unknown. This situation is of great concern and represents one of the research challenges for the near future. The SAFEMTECH Project (Marie Curie) is focused on this area.
There are also new requirements and more demands for active and intelligent packaging for many products. Thus, it is necessary to complete and to improve the developments to make better the design of these active and intelligent packaging materials. Several research projects in the group deal with these subjects. All the goals considered in the research line are based on the achievements arised from previous research but also new challenges and new goals are in progress. It is needed to know more and better the behaviour of the new materials, to explore new technologies to produce active and intelligent packaging materials, to know better the interactions with food, the stability with time, the effect caused in the microorganisms in case of antimicrobial materials (we know that globally they are successfully inhibited) and in the food, but we have to study why and which modification takes place. In this sense, there is a big gap, more worrying as time goes by, with the development and expected launch into the market of packaging materials with new adhesives and printing inks. The new AGL Project financed by the Spanish Ministry (2012-2015) will study these topics.
Since August 2005 there are several active food packagings in the market developed by the Research group and marketed by other companies (Artibal and Repsol), with great success in the market and which commerciallization has been possible due to the use of our antioxidant and antimicrobial packaging materials.
Another area in which the activity of the group concerns is the development of analytical methods for studying the precursors of cholesterol, in close collaboration with some biochemical and medical research groups. These studies will help in the diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia. The experience and knowledge in different areas and the analytical facilities available in the group  are the most powerful tools of the GUIA group.
Another area of interest in which the GUIA group has a large experience is the study of major accidents and the technological risks. Since 1987 the GUIA group is working in this field. We have developed specific software for consequence analysis of major accidents, including those related with fire, explosions and toxic emissions caused by a catastrophe in which chemical substances are involved. Dangereous goods and their transport by railway or road are also a goal in which the GUIA group has developed and carried out several studies, emergency plans, etc. in close connexion with regional and national administration. In general all topics related with chemical risk are the subject of interest and study.

Active packaging materials and intelligent packaging

Several active packaging materials and one intelligent packaging have been developed, studied and patented. In fact, the Group participates in four International patents, three of them in use by...

Several active packaging materials and one intelligent packaging have been developed, studied and patented. In fact, the Group participates in four International patents, three of them in use by the companies participating in the development and the fourth one is now in proceeding between the University of Zaragoza and a multinational company. This has allowed to commercialize several active food packages, and the GUIA Group is internationally recognized as a leader group in the study and development of active packaging. The whole process has been carried out, from the technology design, study, optimization, technical evaluation, etc., to the last phase, which is industrial production and commercialization. These active packaging materials are antioxidant, antimicrobial or with added aroma.

  1. The active packaging developed to date don’t need direct contact between food and packaging to be efficient, which is an important difference with most of the active packaging prototypes proposed by others. Moreover, the active agents are authorized for direct contact with food and, therefore, can be used without legal problems and without requiring a specific dossier to ask for the acceptance to EFSA. This is a huge advantage versus other proposals.
  2. The new active materials are versatile. Each product needs a different protection. The designed active system allows to select the suitable active agent and the right concentration in the package according to the client (company) and product needs.
  3. The active agents are immobilized at room temperature, so there is no thermal degradation, compound loss or any alteration on the known composition of the food grade extract. This is again a constant performance in all the technologies explored and developed to produce the active or intelligent materials in the GUIA Research Group.
Methods for the study of specific migration of substances

Several analytical methods for the study of specific migration of substances (monomers, additives, adhesives, printing inks, etc.) from the package to the food have been developed, in the plastic...

Several analytical methods for the study of specific migration of substances (monomers, additives, adhesives, printing inks, etc.) from the package to the food have been developed, in the plastic field (virgin, recycled,multilayer, etc.) as well as in the paper and cardboard sector (virgin and recycled) and in the multilayer combined materials. Many of these methods are used today by the companies and administration labs. This field is always in constant research, because it is mandatory before launching into the market any food contact material. Both the study of the existing materials and articles and the new developed materials need a constant improvement of the analytical methods, which GUIA Group develops.

Technology Transfer

Processes & Recycling

Laboratorio de microbiología (clase III)

Services

Industrial Technologies

Emergency Planning (Facilities, dangerous goods, etc..)

Processes & Recycling

Environmental studies. Analysis of environmental samples

Success Cases

Processes & Recycling

Antioxidant and antimicrobial active packaging for the agrofood industry

Since 2000, the GUIA group (I3A) works closely with ARTIBAL, a micro-SME located in Sabinanigo (Spain), and since 2002 with Repsol, a Spanish Company with different sites in Spain, for the...

Since 2000, the GUIA group (I3A) works closely with ARTIBAL, a micro-SME located in Sabinanigo (Spain), and since 2002 with Repsol, a Spanish Company with different sites in Spain, for the development of new active food packaging. In both cases the active packaging systems developed are. able to protect the food against the growth of microorganisms and against oxidation. The results of this research, developed by GUIA and applied by the companies, have been three international patents for antioxidant and antimicrobial packaging solutions.

As a result of this investigation, the company ARTIBAL has been able to double its staff and its turnover and has restructured the company, directing his main goal to the manufacture of active solutions for food packaging. Repsol is also in the international market with the active packaging solution for paper and board. The new formulations for paper and board and for flexible packaging PE, PP, PET, PS and multilayer and semirigid packaging (trays) have been developed. The optimization and development of active coatings in order to bring to market active materials for food such as beef, pastries, cakes, processed products (jam, etc.) and raw materials such as fruit and vegetables, was also included in the research work.

The GUIA group also has a new international licensed patent for smart packaging, not only to preserve but also to detect infections caused by pathogenic microorganisms in food that at this moment is under industrial development.

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