Organic production

Organic production: understanding intrinsic characteristics and their origin.

Compared with conventional food, organic food brings more benefits to environment and humans. However,  the  organic  products  are  retailed  at  a  higher  price,  which  makes  them susceptible  to  fraud.  Some research have been done to identify the unique characteristics of organic produce, but due to the large number of factors which can determine the product composition differences due to the farming management system are usually hard to be detected. Organic dairy products are among the most popular organic products on the market but still limited understanding of the differentiating properties of organic milk and their causes is available.

The aim of this project is to elucidate which, to which extent and why various factors contribute to the chemical and physical characteristics of organic dairy products. Furthermore, these relationships will be used to find the most unique characteristics allowing authentication of organic dairy products by advanced laboratory-based techniques as well as by rapid on-site measurement technology.

The study will focus on the various parts of the production system impacting on the chemical and physical characteristics of organic milk. This will include the rearing management system of the cattle, the feed, the production of the feed, the fertilisation of crops for the feed, etc. The unique characteristics will be evaluated using state-of-the-art analytical techniques based on chromatography, mass spectrometry and spectroscopy in combination with advanced statistics. After the identification of the unique characteristics in the laboratory, measurement techniques will be searched for which will allow rapid on-site measurements to determine the integrity of organic milk.