TFF Electronic Nose Sensor voor Aardappel Monitoring

Tolsma Storage Technology is a medium-sized company offering advanced agricultural storage systems Products. A very important aspect here is the optimization of the environmental conditionsunder which the products are stored. All systems are therefore equipped with a very advanced climate control system. In order to be able to guarantee the optimal storage conditions even better active monitoring systems are of great importance. This makes it possible to actively monitor at an early stage the conditions of the products in storage.

In a recent study carried out by Wageningen University, there are a number of biomarkers for potatoes identified that are released into the air when the potatoes are no longer stable (either because they go sprouting, or because they are affected). If these biomarkers are already successfully detected in extremely low concentrations, it must be possible to control and stop this process by adjusting the storage conditions before major damage occurs. The study also shows that the concentrations in which these substances need to be detected must be in the order of the ppb.

A highly sensitive sensor platform has recently been developed at the University of Twente that can already detect gaseous substances  in very low concentrations. This technology, which is a type of the electronic nose (or eNose) works on the principle of vibrating cantilevers with micrometer dimensions. On these cantilevers molecules are present that absorb the specific molecules that are being sought. Due to this absorption, the mass of the cantilever will increase slightly. Because the resonance frequency, with which the cantilever vibrates, depends only on its spring constant and its mass, an increase in mass will cause a shift of this frequency. Specifically, because of the very small dimensions of the cantilever, the inherent mass of the leaf spring is very small. The absorption of small numbers of molecules can therefore already be measured.

In this project a feasibility study has been carried out to study whether the eNose technique is suitable is for the mentioned problem.