IRESMO Foundation mission

The Mediterranean Aliment Culture, MAC, now well known as Mediterranean Diet, MeDiet, an UNESCO immaterial human heritage since 2011, was investigated by the Seven Countries Studies, formally started in fall 1958 and continued for more than 50 years in seven countries, four regions of the world, UA, Japan Northern Europe, Southern Europe. One of the cohorts is in Italy, at Nicotera, a village of Tyrrhenian cost of Calabria.

The Calabria region, the green heartland of the Italy toe, has everything the Agricultural and Food Technology Science needs. It has a food industry, its agriculture deserves an advanced stage of modernisation, and its environment is still unspoilt. In addition, the agricultural land offered is representative of many Mediterranean countries in terms of situation, altitude, climate and crops.

The social and cultural traditions of the Region also provide a rich source of inspiration for the IRESMO researches, offering a highly stimulating creative environment. All these factors combine to make Calabria the logical choice for IRESMO enterprise and endeavour.

IRESMO exploits a series of human resources, structures, laboratories, equipment, classrooms, fields and greenhouses, which, under intelligent management and governance, can reach the critical mass necessary for the creation and dissemination of innovation in agri and zoo industrial districts.

IRESMO Foundation Group.

IRESMO Foundation Group, formerly CIRASAIA, Mediterranean Agri and Zoo food Research Centre, Calabria University, is organized in a wide cluster of local research units within CIRASA, Interuniversity Research Centre on Food Science, among the Universities of Genoa, La Sapienza-Rome, CNR-Naples, Salerno, Lecce, Calabria, Messina and Catania, the ISOL-MIPA, Rende and Spoleto, and MIPA-RF, Cosenza and Mediterranean SMEs.

The contribution of different departmental and institution units, together with SME external collaboration, usually for technical expertise, refers to the development of research projects, Bromatheia POP 90/93; SIPAM-POP; Floralia ’99; MURST 40% ’95 and ’96; CNR/OEVO ‘98-‘99; OLITEXT ’98-’99; MEMOBIOMAR-Mediterranean fat fish MURST 2000-03; ALIVE, agro-preventer SIA/ENEA 2000-02; Self-Stabilized Active Prevention & Treatment for Functional Ulive Oil Production, SAPUOP® innovation, 2000-13; UlivoMed 2005-13.

Bromatheia MAC.

Bromatheia MAC Project, the Food Quality, Typicality and Safety Programme. The aim of B-MAC is to encourage industry and the academic research community to work collaboratively on projects in key scientific and technological areas that have particular commercial promise.

Background.

B-MAC programme concentrates on the need to meet increasing consumer demand for food of consistently high quality in terms of safety and hedonic-sensory properties. The programme develops projects aimed at enhancing the hedonic-sensory and functional quality and safety of both fresh and processed foods, by improving raw materials, ingredients and where appropriate, processing methods. It will also seek to achieve greater co-operation between those who supply the agricultural raw materials for food and those who process and sell food, in order to enhance market opportunities throughout the supply chain.

Supporting innovation in small and medium sized enterprises, SMEs, those with low employees in total, is an important element of the B-MAC initiative. Research proposals encourage for specific initiatives to ensure that appropriate enabling technology arising from the programme is disseminated to small and medium sized companies. It is intended that technology transfer initiatives should play a central role in the programme alongside conventional IRESMO research projects.

Priority Topics: Raw material quality

To identify bio and techno molecules and their structures present in food raw materials and determine the function and behaviour of these molecular components and their structures at various stages in the food chain. Specific targets include understanding how the active molecular and physical characteristics of the raw material relate to processing requirements and to the final quality and safety of the product. Associated with this is the specific requirement to understand the causes of seasonal and other variation in raw material quality. This will investigate the changes that occur during storage of such raw materials and how these changes should be factored in when processing such materials.

Mediterranean food ingredients, food safety and biomolecular science.

To predict the structural, functional and textural properties of Mediterranean food from a knowledge of the effects of processing. This will include predictions of evolving properties, during product storage and predictions of shelf life. Specific targets include molecular reaction kinetics of food ingredients; interfacial phenomena; macromolecular conformation; glassy and rubbery states; partitioning and migration; phase transitions; hydration/dehydration; deformation and fracture; inhibition of microbial survival and growth; physical parameters; detecting taints, allergens and microbial and contaminants.

Strategies for enhancing Mediterranean food quality and safety.

To identify the most effective control points in the food chain for the enhancement of end product quality. To develop strategies to achieve the target improvements, whilst encouraging environmentally acceptable practices. This will include improvements to raw materials at the primary production level, to food ingredients and formulations and to processing and distribution.

Typicality, quality and safety measurement.

To establish the basis for detecting and controlling key typicality, quality and safety attributes of materials throughout the food chain, from raw materials through manufacturing and distribution to retail and consumption. Specific targets include the measurement of hedonic-sensory properties; determining the relationship between these measurements and physical parameters; detecting taints, allergens and microbial and exogenous contaminants; in order to preserve MAC functional effects.

B-MAC Programme.

The programme is jointly funded by EU, MURST, CNR, ENEA, POR-Calabria and private funds. Several grants of million Euros were available over a number of years for collaborative executive projects under the B-MAC programme. A requirement for support contributions were sometime matched by an equivalent contribution either cash or in-kind, from IRESMO and industrial partners.

Conditions for joining IRESMO; the rules on getting collaboration.

The IRESMO Promoting Innovative Partnerships booklet sets out the overall arrangements relating to collaboration and association. Specific rules relating to this programmes, are describes in the web-site http://home.unical.it/cirasaia Guidance Notes, a copy of which may be obtained from the Programme Secretariat, see end page. For guidance only, some key criteria are:

  • Proposal should focus on strategic research into technologies with the potential for future commercial development;

  • Research projects must involve collaboration between one or more companies and one or more research-based partners;

  • Applications should only be submitted for a project that would not have been undertaken in the form proposed or within a reasonable time-scale without aid under this programme;

  • Arrangements for ownership and exploitation of intellectual property arising from a project must be agreed between partners before an offer of collaboration can be made;

  • For industrial in-kind contributions to projects to be eligible for matched funding, all research must be carried out in the Mediterranean area and by IRESMO-based personnel.

B-MAC Programme Management.

The programme is managed by an IRESMO committee of academics with external industrialists together with representatives of local research units. The IRESMO Committee is responsible for advising sponsors on the selections of projects for support. Another particular responsibility of the Committee is to stimulate new research collaborations. The B-MAC Programme Managers assist the Committee in these tasks.