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The Functional Ice Initiative

Group ~ Auburn University, United States of America; Zamorano University, Honduras; African Regional Aquaculture Centre & Imah NSA Adegoke Foundation, Nigeria

Food loss and food waste (FLFW) are a major cause of concern around the globe threatening food security. Post-harvest losses of highly perishable foods such as seafood is not only economically detrimental but also is a loss of high protein source. Efforts are needed to reduce post-harvest losses of foods from the farm to fork value chain especially in economically disadvantaged countries. At present, the small and artisanal fisherman as well as seafood sellers use ice with insufficient storage, insulation and cold chain leading to spoilage of seafood and lower quality.

Dr. Amit Morey has developed an innovative concept termed “functional ice” (FICE) which is an innovation over regular ice. FICE is made by freezing some commonly available food ingredients with antimicrobial properties such that as FICE melts, it slowly releases the antimicrobial over the food surface and eliminates the spoilage microorganisms throughout the supply chain. FICE can be made using existing infrastructure and does not require any additional equipment cost. Since FICE resembles and is used instead of regular ice, it is easily adopted by the seafood value chain actors without any special training.

Photo of research team members from FICE with their Spirit of Sustainability Award

Dr. Morey and his research group at Auburn University have developed FICE in the lab and it has been tested in wet markets in Honduras and Nigeria in collaboration with the local scientists and non-governmental organizations.

The team members of the Functional Ice Initiative are as follows:

Auburn University: Dr. Laura Garner, Jasmine Kataria (pursuing Ph.D. at UGA), Aftab Siddiqui and Charles (Brock) Herron; Olivia Brahms, Ana-Cecilia Rush, Nikki Johnson, Telah Black, Peyton Williams, Grady Oller and Courtney Clay

Zamorano University, Honduras: Dr. Mayra Marquez Gonzalez, Bet Wu Alvarado, Eswin Aroldo Ariza and Ada Madrid Sandova)

Nigeria: Dr. Ebinimi Ansa, African Regional Aquaculture Centre/Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (ARAC/NIOMR), Imah Adegoke (Imah NSA Adegoke Foundation).