Mission, Objectives, Scope and Activities
The mission of CIGR Section VI is to advance and promote the application of engineering principles and technologies in postharvest handling and processing of agrifood products. It is devoted to follow the trends, promote the advancement and enhance the dissemination and transfer of technology in postharvest handling and processing at a global scale.
The objectives of CIGR Section VI are to:
- provide a global platform for engineers and other practitioners working in the areas of postharvest and processing;
- enhance international experiences, exchange and co-operation, for the advancement of knowledge in this area, world-wide;
- stimulate participation in CIGR activities, including Congresses and Conferences;
- identify and define existing and new areas for research and /or technology transfer;
- advance engineering knowledge for quality and safety assurance of food products.
With growing threat of food insecurity, especially in the least developed regions, the importance of agrifood process engineering has heightened in recent times. A fundamental basis of this area of knowledge is to bring together physical sciences with knowledge on product physiology and properties, in order to develop new techniques for quality recognition, maintain quality and reduce food losses and waste. Although significant advances in field production technologies have been made during the last century, contributing to improved yields and productivity, the prevailing high incidence of postharvest losses and waste due to lack of appropriate postharvest handling, storage and processing remains a global challenge towards assuring food and nutrition security. Solution to this challenge requires the concerted efforts by agricultural and biosystems engineers and other stakeholders to develop cost-effective and sustainable solutions through the advancement of research and innovation.
On the other hand, the issues of quality and safety of food products has evolved into a high priority in many markets, particularly in the developed regions. Assuring food food quality and safety requires concerted efforts and investments in research and technology transfer to advance the traditional sciences and technologies, and also broaden the areas of knowledge in agrifood processing, especially the use of novel technologies for sensing and communication.
The scope of CIGR Section VI activities includes agricultural, food and other processes in the handling and utilisation of biomaterials. The different areas covered in Section VI are defined with the following keywords:
- postharvest handling;
- drying and related preservation methods;
- cooling and storage;
- packaging and transportation;
- quality, safety and traceability;
- processing and value-addition;
- sustainability of food and other biomaterials such as grains, root crops, fruit and vegetables, milk and dairy products, ready-to-eat meals, bakery products, meat, egg and egg products.
Topics covered in these areas include:
- Physical properties of materials;
- Non-destructive sensors, sensing technologies automation of processes;
- Storage, and product quality loss, relationships to environmental conditions, especially in the tropics and sub-tropics;
- Food safety, security and defense;
- Decision-aid tools, simulation and modeling of processes;
- Innovative and emerging food processing technologies;
- Shipping and transportation of food commodities;
- Packaging, including modified atmosphere and smart packaging;
- Process management and optimization;
- Supply chain innovation, track and trace;
- Food losses and wastes, treatment and management;
- Information technologies and development of expert systems for bioprocess optimization.
Specific topics related to Agrifood Processing Engineering include characterising and predicting the functional properties of products, design and control of equipment, design and control of bioprocesses, and the engineering design and implementation of processing plants.
To achieve its mission and objectives, CIGR Section VI promotes and engages in a wide range of regular programmes under the auspices of the CIGR as well specifically developed activities. The range of activities undertaken by CIGR Section VI includes:
- organising seminars, workshops or conferences connected with the objectives of CIGR-Section VI,
- cooperating with CIGR Working Groups that deal with the activities of CIGR Section VI,
- cooperating with the CIGR Journal by contributing and reviewing papers,
- developing cooperation and contacts with similar international organizations,
- advancing the broader mission and objectives of the CIGR through sponsoring and cooperation other conferences and related scientific activities in the areas of postharvest technology and food process engineering.
CIGR Section VI Board Meetings held during CIGR World Congresses and CIGR Section VI International Technical Symposium.
CIGR Section VI International Symposium Series
Besides contributions at CIGR Congresses and CIGR International Conferences, CIGR Section VI organises a regular CIGR Section VI International Symposium as a global platform to the networking and dissemination of research activities in the areas of postharvest technology and process engineering. So far, successful International Symposia has been held in Asia, Europe, and South America, and the next event will be held in Africa in 25-28 November 2012. The following is a list of past and planned Symposium in the series:
- 1st International Symposium on “Bioproducts Processing and Food Safety”, 11-14 October 2004, Beijing, China.
- 2nd International Symposium on “Future of Food Engineering”, 26-28 April, Warsaw, Poland.
- 3rd International Symposium on “Food and Agricultural Products: Processing and Innovations”, 24-26 September 2007, Naples, Italy.
- 4th International Symposium on “Food and Bioprocess Technology”, 31 August - 4 September 2008, Iguassu Falls City, Brazil.
- 5th International Symposium on “Food Processing, Monitoring Technology in Bioprocesses and Food Quality Management”, 31 August - 2 September 2009, Potsdam, Germany.
- 6th International Symposium on “Towards a Sustainable Food Chain: Food Process, Bioprocessing and Food Quality Management”, 18-20 April 2011, Nantes, France.
- 7th International Symposium on “Postharvest Technology and AgriFood Processing: Innovating the Food Value Chain”, 25-28 November 2012, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Collaboration with CIGR Working Groups
CIGR Section VI members play active roles in the activities of two CIGR Working Groups, namely:
Image Analysis for Agricultural Processesand Products Working Group
- To meet recent demands on process monitoring in agricultural production, during storage and processing of raw material
- To develop objective, sensitive, and reliable optical tools for receiving analytical data in a non-destructive way.
Food Safety Working Group
- Gathering, generating and disseminating information on predicting and monitoring the behaviour and fate of emerging biological and chemical hazard
- Divulging advances on risk assessment and risk-benefit evaluation
- Disseminating information on tools, preservation practices and processes to ensure safety along the food chain
- Understanding and addressing consumer concerns with food safety issues