Solutions for Perishables Shelf-life Extension and Spoilage Detection Towards Food Waste Reduction

  • Asrar N. Damdam

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Food loss and waste represent a significant challenge to global sustainability. In a world where the number of people suffering from hunger has been rising, approximately 1.3 million tonnes of food are lost or wasted each year. When food is lost or wasted, all the resources used to produce it, including water, land, energy, labor, and capital, are also lost. In addition, it is estimated that the disposal of food in landfills generates 11% of all greenhouse gas emissions, thereby contributing to climate change. Food loss and waste can also have a negative impact on food security and prices. This dissertation introduces non-invasive and chemicals-free solutions for the shelf-life extension and quality monitoring of fresh foods. First, we propose the creation of a sterilized anaerobic storage environment using UV-C irradiation and vacuum sealing for increasing the shelf-life of perishables. The proposed combination was tested on fresh strawberries and quartered tomatoes and has successfully increased the shelf-life by 124.41% and 54.41%, respectively, while acceptable sensory characteristics were maintained throughout the storage period. Second, the proposed combination was tested on fresh beef, chicken and salmon fillets, where a shelf-life increase of 66% was achieved. The shelf-life of strawberries, tomatoes and meats were determined by monitoring the organoleptic qualities and counting the microbial populations of various bacteria, which includes aerobic bacteria, Lactic Acid Bacteria, Pseudomonas spp., yeast, mold, Salmonella and E-coli in addition to pH measurements. In the third part, we propose an IoT-enabled electronic nose system for rapid beef quality monitoring. The e-nose system includes carbon dioxide, ammonia, and ethylene sensors to measure the volatile organic compounds' (VOCs) concentrations. Microbial population quantifications of various bacteria were conducted to identify the concentrations of VOCs that are associated with raw beef spoilage. The production of VOCs was correlated with the proliferation of bacteria using linear regression, and it was discovered that aerobic bacteria and Pseudomonas spp. play a significant role in the production of VOCs in raw beef, as opposed to LAB. This system demonstrates how the IoT-enabled e-nose system can be an effective tool for monitoring the quality of perishables.
Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorKhaled Salama (Supervisor)


  • Food waste
  • Food preservation
  • electronic nose

Cite this