ExtraMIR (Extra value from- smart use of-MIR spectra)
MIR-spectra have been used to analyze milk components since the 1980s. Today, advanced analytical techniques and powerful data processing tools allow additional value to be derived from the MIR spectral information. As of today, a broad variety of equations exists allowing the prediction of traits related to the chemical composition of milk, the nutritional quality of milk, the ration quality of the cows´ feed, animal health and welfare indicators, the environmental fingerprint of milk production, the technological properties of milk as well as the detection of “abnormal milk”. However, many of those equations are not applied in field yet. So, the question arises: “Why is there such a huge gap between results of research and application in the field?”.
- As models derived from MIR spectra are partly referring to complex functional traits, there is a strong need to find a suitable way to anchor the outcome of the models to a sound reference.
- Experience shows that actual QA procedures are not sufficient to obtain the best quality of spectra; thus, there is a need to find options to standardize and stabilize instruments.
- As well, tools must be developed to verify the equivalence of the information obtained in the different areas of the globe for the same functional trait with different models.
- There is a need to explain what type of information is delivered by statistical models using MIR spectra. Still the nature of information as a prediction (what compound in what concentration, probability of presence or absence of a substance, shaping or markedness of a functional trait) is not understood in many cases.
- Agreement should be reached on what references to use, how to standardize them, and what data to use for models based on MIR spectra.
- It is necessary to standardize the terminology used, as there are some misunderstandings currently.
- Furthermore, the way to present the information coming from MIR spectra-based models should be simplified, standardized, and explained extensively to combine and connect science with practice.
- ExtraMIR should set up an expert group to facilitate the creation of information and its appropriate presentation.