pixel Stabilize vitamins and prevent fruit oxidation for up to 48 hours: FCT NOVA research wins ERC grant | Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

Stabilize vitamins and prevent fruit oxidation for up to 48 hours: FCT NOVA research wins ERC grant

Ana Rita Duarte, professor and researcher at the Department of Chemistry at FCT NOVA, has just received her third grant from the ERC (European Research Council), the most prestigious institution for granting funds for scientific and technological research in Europe. 

The project, whose merit has now been recognised with a grant of 150,000 euros, is called IMproVITA and its main objective is to help improve the shelf life of perishable products by stabilising vitamins using an innovative technology that aims to increase antioxidant activity and prevent fruit oxidation for up to 48 hours when exposed to air. 

"We know that the food processing industry is under intense pressure to extend the shelf life of products and reduce the tonnes of waste generated each year, while consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the choices they make. Vitamins, also known as antioxidants, are the most common group of chemical compounds used to keep food fresh. This project aims to prevent the early degradation of antioxidants by using deep eutectic systems (DES) to extend the shelf life of these compounds," explains researcher Ana Rita Duarte, of FCT NOVA.

This proof-of-concept grant has now been awarded to a researcher who has already received two ERC grants. In 2017, Ana Rita Duarte had already received a Consolidator Grant from the ERC for the work "Des.solve - When solids become liquids: natural deep eutectic solvents for chemical process engineering". Later, in 2022, she received a grant of 150,000 euros for the development of the project "CryoDES - Nature-inspired Cryopreservation Systems using Natural Deep Eutectic Systems". 

Additionally, the European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept grant also means that the funding should be used to move from theory to practice: realising the viability of scientific concepts under development, as well as exploring business opportunities or preparing patent applications. In this specific case, the team intends to assess the commercial potential of this new solution with the market. 

In addition to teaching, Ana Rita Duarte is also a researcher at the Associated Laboratory for Green Chemistry (LAQV/Requimte). 

Find out more at FCT NOVA  

More information on ERC grants