The Radiation Technology Centre (RTC) is one of the six (6) centres of the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI). Work in the centre revolves around two main divisions; the Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF) and the supporting laboratories. The Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF) was originally acquired under an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Technical Assistance Programme in 1994 and commissioned in 1995 with a source loading of 50 kCi. The facility was upgraded in 2010 with financial assistance from the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF), now Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF). The GIF is a category IV wet storage irradiator with a Cobalt-60 source (50 kCi as at 2010) and has a maximum loading capacity of 500 kCi. The supporting laboratories specialize in microbiological analysis, physicochemical analysis of food, polymer studies, product sensory evaluation and dosimetry analysis.
To be a world-class research centre harnessing the advantages of gamma irradiation to achieve food security, improved healthcare and social well-being.
The mission of the Radiation Technology Centre is to conduct research and provide services to Ghana and beyond in the field of gamma irradiation.
RTC mainly uses radiation processing in its research and service provision activities. Gamma radiation from a Cobalt-60 source is applied in a controlled system to achieve many technical aims. Current research and service provision activities being undertaken in the centre include:
- Radiation Processing: The process of food irradiation ensures the destruction of bacteria, fungi, insects and other parasites that cause food spoilage and disease. Radiation treatment also delays germination/sprouting in some foods while delaying ripening and senescence in others. Research in this area currently focuses on perishable crops like pepper, tomatoes, plantains and other locally produced foods. Work is also on-going on decontamination of medicinal herbs in Ghana and the impact irradiation has on the phenolic content of these herbs. Radiation sterilization for medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries is another aspect of the work of the centre.
Advantages of gamma irradiation in the food industry
- Total penetration of final packaging
- Highly effective and efficient process
- “Cold process” – no temperature influence
- Time/ Dose is the only variable-easy validation and control
- No quarantine time
- Can be applied at various stages of manufacturing process
Unique Advantages of gamma sterilization
- Treated products can be used immediately without quarantine time
- Insignificant rise in product temperature during the process, thus preserving heat-sensitive plastics and other components
- High penetrability (hence packaged products can be processed)
- Very precise and reproducible treatment process
- Provides high sterility assurance levels of 10
- Shelf life of treated products is long and depends on integrity
- Post-harvest management:
- The quality and safety assessment of vegetables grown around BNARI
- Insect quality control for powdered food products
- Exploiting the benefits of amaranth grain through appropriate postharvest storage techniques
- Extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables by treating with natural fungicides
- Food product development:
Research in this area focuses on producing value-added products that use innovative techniques including irradiation. Recent work has centred around the nutrition/quality characteristics of consuming fortified soybean gari, identification and characterization of microorganisms associated with spontaneously fermented sobolo, solar drying of mangoes with edible coatings, toxicological safety and socioeconomic considerations of the usage of some selected edible insects in Ghana, development of value added tomato products from solar dried tomato and evaluation of drying as a method of preserving carrots and reducing postharvest losses.
- General laboratory services:
In addition to irradiation sterilization, RTC provides researchers, students and general customers with laboratory testing and technical support solutions at every stage of the sterilization design process, from product development through routine processing.
The Radiation Technology Centre provides regular commercial services in the following areas:
- Radiation processing of food and non-food items
- Radiation sterilization of medical and pharmaceutical supplies/items
- Radiation decontamination of medicinal herbs
- Microbiological analysis of food and non-food items like beverages, herbal products/drugs, water and food and feed to determine/detect:
- Mould /yeast count
- Total heterotrophic viable count
- Salmonella, Shigella, faecal coliforms, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Eschericha coli and Clostridium
- Physicochemical analysis of food and non-food items to check the proximate composition such as moisture content/total solids, crude ash, crude fat/lipid and crude protein. And also check the pH, titratable acidity, amylose and amylopectin content, reducing and non-reducing sugars, pasting profile of starch and soluble solids/Brix
- Determination of functional properties of starch/flour to inspect the foaming capacity, water absorption capacity, fat/oil absorption capacity, swelling power, bulk density and solubility properties of starch
- Sensory evaluation of foods and drinks
The centre has been involved in the training of students of the various private and public universities in Ghana and the ECOWAS sub-region.
RTC has produced proGARI, a soya fortified gari which is rich in macro- and micronutrients for enhanced nutrition and well-being, especially among children. The centre in collaboration with international universities developed an innovative drying system for tomato preservation.
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Austria
- CSIR – Food Research Institute
- University of Ghana
- University of Cape Coast
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
- Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD)
- The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)
- Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF)
- Farmer associations
For further information contact:
The Centre Manager,
Radiation Technology Centre (RTC)
PO. Box LG 80, Legon-Accra, Ghana
RTC is within the premises of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC). GAEC is about 6 km off the main Legon-Madina road and it is between the Haatso and Kwabenya towns.
Digital Address/GPS: GE-257-0465