CERCA GINYS - Mobile CT (truck)
Funded by CERCA with the support of the Spain Ministry of Science and Innovation.
Computed tomography (CT) makes it possible to see, in a non-invasive way, the composition of materials or products. For this reason it can be applied to live animals to carry out genetic improvement studies, growth curves, studies on fat deposition according to diet, genetics, sex, age, etc. It can also be applied on animal carcasses (or parts) to obtain their tissue composition as well as other relevant quality characteristics such as fat and muscle thicknesses, areas, volumes, etc. In this sense, it is being applied in carcass classification issues, in order to obtain the percentage of leanness of the carcasses and use it as a reference system for classification equipment in the slaughter line. CT also has an important potential for the optimisation of food processes as it is a non-destructive technology that allows the evaluation of the same product throughout the whole process. The fact that the salt and water content in a given area can be predicted makes CT very useful for optimising salting and curing processes. It can also be used to optimise freezing processes, among others. X-rays emitted by CT equipment lose some of their initial energy as they pass through tissues. This energy attenuation is directly related to the density of the material, producing images with higher contrast as the density of the material increases. This makes it possible to obtain images in which the different tissues can be differentiated and to obtain different related quality parameters (fat and lean thicknesses, area, volumes, fat and lean content, etc.). It is therefore a very useful technology in terms of carcass and piece quality. In addition, salt has a higher density than meat and appears in the images with higher contrast. Therefore, curing processes can be easily evaluated using this technology. IRTA makes computed tomography available to the entire agri-food sector with a mobile CT scanner, installed inside a lorry, which will allow this technology to be applied anywhere. Applications range from live cattle, carcasses and fish to fruit.