The MyToolBox e-platform

The central part of the project is the development of the web-based MyToolBox e-platform. This toolbox will serve as an interactive, internet based tool that will facilitate optimal decision making for mycotoxin management including prevention, control and monitoring in European feed and food chains. This Decision Support System (DSS) is intended for use by various actors in the chain, including farmers, millers, processors and feed/food producers, as well as governmental authorities. Whereby it provides these users with multiple information, tools and guidance concerning actions that can be taken to prevent and reduce fungal contamination and lead to reductions in levels of mycotoxins in the food and feed chains.

Flowchart of the MyToolBox e-platform

The MyToolbox platform consists of static and dynamic parts. The static component will e.g. include synthesised existing guidelines as e.g. published by the FAO for Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), Good Manufacturing Practices, as well as protocols for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, sorting, milling and baking for mycotoxin management in small grain cereals, maize and figs, both pre-harvest and post-harvest. Moreover, potential corrective actions and recommendations will be part of the e-platform for alternative safe use in case certain action levels or EU legal limits are exceeded. The dynamic component will address optimal storage conditions, by using real-time sensing or forecasting models to predict fungal and mycotoxin contamination of small grain cereals and maize at early growth stages, for optimal application of biofungicides and optimal harvest time.

To overcome problems in a relation to user acceptance of the MyToolBox decision support web platform, our multi-actor approach and well managed innovation cycle ensures that stakeholder groups are involved at all stages of the development of MyToolBox e-platform to ensure that their feedback is considered in the iterative development approach. Their involvement will be crucial to translate the key components of HACCP, GAP and the Decision Support System for pre- and post-harvest treatments together with legal aspects and socio-economic drivers of the actors into clear, unambiguous advices to prevent mycotoxin contamination and the safe use of contaminated batches. Via an interactive User Interface, which will be accessible over all all mainstream interfaces (PCs, tablets and smartphones), each of these actors will be able to easily navigate and access the required information and decision support, as well as input and output information from the system.

An alpha-release of the MyToolBox platform is scheduled for September 2017. As the results from the innovative pre- and post-harvest measures which will be developed during the project will become available, they will be added and hence the MyToolBox e-platform will be continuously updated. Access to the final MyToolBox platform will be freely available to end users during the lifetime of the project, i.e. until 2020. Its sustainability will be achieved through a robust business model that will be developed during the project that could e.g. involve levying a nominal membership fee to users.

Objectives of work package 3

  • To develop forecasting models to predict potential fungal contamination of small grain cereals at an early growth stage so that pre-emptive action can be taken to reduce both infection and mycotoxin formation.
  • To design, build, test and validate an integrated, dynamic, MyToolBox e-platform for decision support in mycotoxin management, which provides users with information, tools and guidance concerning actions that can be taken to reduce fungal contamination and lead to reduction in levels of mycotoxins in the food and feed chains. The web-based MyToolBox e-platform will be accessible to farmers, food processors and other actors along the chain through all mainstream interfaces (PCs, tablets or smartphones).
  • To maximise uptake of the web-based MyToolBox e-platform by the stakeholders in the project and beyond, the intent of actors will be determined by their perceptions of risks of mycotoxin contamination (= perception of probability consequences) and their perception of the possibilities to reduce these risks in the most reliable and cost-effective way by using the MyToolBox e-platform.
  • To draw up Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) based protocols for prevention and control of mycotoxins that can be applied throughout the entire food & feed chain.
  • To adapt and integrate cost-effective sampling and monitoring strategies for mycotoxin management over the entire chain (WP3).

Management team