In order to be able to meet all present needs in the market, CTAEX, apart from having a multifunctional human team, relies on the facilities that you can see below that ensure that R&D+i projects are fulfilled, no matter if they are own projects or developed in collaboration with third-party companies, or other bodies.
The Technological Centre is located outside the town of Badajoz, between two small parishes, Villafranco del Guadiana and Balboa, next to Badajoz airport. It is embedded in a 28ha piece of ground, 23 of which are dedicated to agronomic research. The rest is devoted to several research studies.
The buildings are distributed all over an area of 20,000 m2, with a fenced perimeter, and with two automatic CCTV-controlled access gates.
For agronomic research purposes, the Centre relies on a fully equipped experimental field:
- 23ha of levelled ground, suitable for agricultural tests
- Various types of agricultural machinery
- It has a 1,000 m3 water pond supplied by an irrigation canal and onsite wells
- Localised drip irrigation system, automated through a monocable system and with app scheduler. Also, filtration and fertilisation equipment via electric spreader, with submerged pump pumping system
- The experimental field has an area of 5ha, with the ecological certification of the Regional Government of Extremadura
- Arboretum with indigenous olive tree varieties
- Precision agriculture systems: sensors
- Scholander chamber
- Seed chamber with humidity and temperature control
10x40m long greenhouse structure, 3m high gutter. Four zones divided by plastic, with side motorised windows with manual control box; total 8 windows and 4 side 3x2.5 doors, 3-layer Eva plastic roof.
Shades with tube rack system, motorised with manual control box and 4 independent zones.
FOOD PILOT PLANT
The food pilot plant has all the equipment it needs to process the raw material needed to develop new products and to improve the established procedures in the agri-food industry. There are several rooms and specific lines in the plant:
- Vegetable raw material reception and preparation room
- Vegetable processing line (bleacher, cooler, freezing tunnel)
- Industrial kitchen (cookers, steam cabin, vacuum cooker)
- Processing and aseptic packaging line for vegetable and fruit juice and concentrate.
- Meat products processing room (cutter, injector, mincer, muller)
- Precooked food room (shapers, fillers, extrusion equipment, flouring machines, tempura/gachuela applicators, breading machines, deep-fryers, ovens)
- Thermal treatments (tubular pasteurisers, rough surface, plates, rotary autoclave, furnaces)
- Packaging in modified atmosphere (thermo-sealers, gas mixes, gas analyser)
- Dairy and cheese line, plate pasteuriser, curdling vat, press, ultrafiltration, microfiltration, nanofiltration system, and inverse osmosis
- Oil line: experimental oil press, Abencor
- Other equipment (homogenisers, colloid mill, hammer mills, etc.)
- Dosimetry room
- Curing chambers form ham, sausage, cheese, etc.
- Storing chambers (refrigeration, freezing)
- Chambers with controlled temperature and humidity for preservation studies
Control laboratory for food products and processes
In this laboratory, routine analyses are made during the development process to test the products quality before, during, and after the process. Equipped with:
- Texture analysers
- Gas analysers
- Portable spectrophotometer
- Aw measuring probe
- pH meters
At the experimental kitchen, products undergo the final cooking procedures before being marketed. The kitchen is equipped with
- Convection-steam ovens
- Conventional kitchen
- Dough mixer
- Storing chamber
Sensory Evaluation Laboratories
A very important stage in products development is their sensory analysis. For this purpose, CTAEX relies on a trained tasting panel, a collective tasting room and individual cabins with controlled lighting and computer system to collect the valuations submitted by the tasters.
There are a wide range of equipment and systems in the lab which ease and automatise technical work, to ensure the food product safety.
- Flow cytometry
- PCR equipment in real time
- Classic microbiology techniques
- Laminar flow hoods
At the laboratory, samples are studied using both classic analysis techniques and those using sophisticated equipment, which speeds up the results. Namely:
- Gas chromatography with specific detectors: CG-FID / CG-MS-MS
- High resolution liquid chromatography: HPLC-DAD-IR
- Ion chromatography: CI
- Spectrophotometry: UV - VIS
- Inductively coupled plasma spectrophotometry: ICP
- Solid/liquid extractor for active ingredients of plants
- Extractor of steam-distilled essential oils
- Rancimat: fat stability meter
To meet everyday activities needs, the centre has the following auxiliary services:
- Electric workshop
- Boiler room
- Processing plant
- Water treatment: reverse osmosis plant
- Wastewater treatment plant
- By-product analysis laboratory
- Mechanics workshop
COMMUNICATION AND ADMINISTRATION
Results transfer is vital to disseminate all works carried out related to agri-food R&D. The centre has various equipment for both on-site and virtual dissemination.
- Soundproof with every audio-visual media to hold private meetings, exhibitions, etc.
- Assembly hall with capacity for 100 seats.
- Projector screen
- Overhead projector
- Audio and lighting equipment
- Dedicated software for developing Technological Monitoring
- Management software packages
- Proprietary reprographics material
- Specialised library