STRATFEED Information System



The multidisciplinary nature, the international partnership, the quantity of information to be managed and the huge mass of analytical data linked to the STRATFEED project, involve the development of an information system to manage such European project. The structure of the computer system built in the frame of the STRATFEED project can be presented in 3 parts (Figure 1).


The first part concerns data and information needed in the project. On one hand, all the data are provided by the different teams working on the identification of the samples and on analyses by classical microscopy, by PCR or by NIRS and NIRM instruments. On another hand, information useful for the project management, is provided by each team involved in the project. This information is for example, the project description, the description of partners, the bibliographic references database, the newsletters, the reports, the lectures from meetings or the EC documents. All those information and data, symbolised on the flowchart by flying sheets are available on different supports and formats.


One of the project objectives, represented in the second part of the flowchart, is to build a database  to gather and store all those data and information in an adapted structure.


From a database well defined and structured, any application can be developed; it is the third part of the flowchart. In the frame of the project, 2 types of application are developed:

- on one hand, the data exploitation tools  with

the manager  for the data management dedicated to the database administrator,

the explorer  for the data exploring dedicated to the user and

the decision support system  dedicated to the classic microscopy

- on another hand, the information communication tools  with

the website to facilitate the exchange between the partners.


é            Figure 1. : Computer System Concept.




The main objective of a database is to store the data in a structure in order to retrieve them easily from the applications.


A MS-Access format has been selected to implement the database and to manage both numbers and text as figures and files.


In order to have a maximal flexibility in the development, updating and dissemination, different tables have been created according to each discipline represented in the project (Figure 2).



Figure 2. : Database Structure.



The bibliographic references were described according to the norm ISO 690.


The formula of samples gathered in the sample bank, were described according to the EC guidelines of the Commission Directive 98/67/EC amending Council Directive 96/25/EC.





Data exploitation tools




This application has as objective to manage the data i.e. add, delete or modify any data provided in the project. This application developed with MS_Access is dedicated to the database administrator. It provides forms to input the data and reports to check the data (Figure 3).




Figure 3. : STRATFEED manager.






This application has as objective to offer to the user the tools to explore the database by queries.


The development of the STRATFEED Explorer is based on client-server architecture using the Internet to provide the linkage between both sides (Figure 4). The client side supports the user interface which is a web browser (Internet explorer or Netscape). The server side supports the web server, the database and the query tool. The query module receives the request from the client (HTML pages), accesses the database, depending of the request, and returns the answer to the client by means of the web server and Internet protocol.



Figure 4. : Internet-based STRATFEED Explorer.



With this application, on one hand, the user can have quickly an overview on the STRATFEED database through predefined queries. On the other hand, the user, with more expertise, can build himself his query through different query modules corresponding to the different techniques.





Decision Support Systems


The objective of the DSS is to offer to the scientist a user-friendly assistance to detect and identify animal tissues in feedingstuffs through descriptive texts and pictures. It is based on the knowledge and the expertise of the partners in the project.


In the scope of  STRATFEED, two decision support systems have been developed: a basic tool, the STRATFEED Decision Support System and a more elaborated tool, the ARIES Decision Support System.



STRATFEED Decision Support System


It is an internet oriented system developed in JAVA by CRA-W with collaboration of RIKILT (microscopy expertise), providing a stepwise identification of bone particles in animal feeds by classical microscopy.


In a first step, a list with groups of observations is proposed to the user.


In the second place, depending of groups selected, a series of questions, illustrated with pictures, has to be answered by pressing one of the buttons 'yes', 'intermediate', 'no' or 'blank'.


After answering, the program calculates the fit between the observations by the user and the reference description of mammalian, avian or fish meal, and presents these fits in decreasing order.


Finally, the user can check and compare, for each question, his choices with the description of the different types of MBM.




Animal Remains Identification and Evaluation System (ARIES)


It is a stand-alone system produced by RIKILT (microscopy expertise) based on the Linneaus II software from ETI  (computer expertise) in collaboration with NUTRECO, AFSCA-FVLT and LAGC, providing a stepwise identification of bone particles in animal feeds by classical microscopy.


This system provides three identification modules: the first is based on text, while the second is

based on pictures. These two modules are based on decision trees. Every window shows two or three buttons with choices (text or images); pressing a button i.e. making a choice, leads to a next window with either new choices or a conclusion. Both modules can give a report of the identification pathway. The third identification module, more powerful, is based on a multiple-entry key (matrix of taxa, characters and character states). The observations can be entered in a user defined order and after each input the user is informed about the match of the most probable conclusions.



This system provides also an introduction to the system, protocol and recipe explanation, databank with descriptions and images for MBM type and possible confusing vegetal ingredients, glossary of terms, images gallery, full legislation, litterature and internet links.




Information communication tools


The web site has two main objectives: on one hand to dispatch general information about strategies to detect and quantify animal meals in feedingstuffs dedicated to a general public, scientific or not, on another hand to be a platform of exchanges of data, ideas and information dedicated only to the peoples involved in the project.


To implement this, a public part and a private part have been developed. The STRATFEED Internet site is based on an environment of development (Coldfusion web application server) that enables the user to create dynamic web pages. A MS-Access format was used to develop the database. The relevant information was collected in close collaboration with the coordination team and the members of the consortium. Applications using data from database were developed and can be easily updated by the webmaster or by authorized users.


Public part of the web site


The public part is accessible through the Home page which is divided in 3 frames: the main frame with, around a triangle overwritten by the title of the project, different figures as symbol of the work packages and/or techniques used, the top frame with the logo and the project number and finally the left frame with different topics proposed and presented in the next paragraph.


The "Project description" topic is a web page to present the frame of the project with Internet links to European commission decisions.


The "Participants" topic is divided in 4 subtopics: list, consortium, invited partners and collaborators. The subtopic "List" displays the name, the institution, the email and the phone number of each participant involved in the project. The subtopic "Consortium" presents the 10 partners (logo, institute, head name) arranged around the European flag, depending on their geographical position. For both subtopics, by clicking on different fields, the user has access to different dynamic web pages describing either the institute with its role in the project or the staff with their background and their relevant publications. The subtopics "Invited partners" and "Collaborators" display information about partners linked to the project by an agreement (invited partners) or not (collaborators).


The "References" topic is also an application allowing dynamic creation of web pages using a search tool. Around 180 documents, as well as publications, books and web site addresses are at this moment referenced in the database. The search tool allows the user to define a request according to different fields. The result list with author, title and year is displayed on a new frame. Clicking on one reference, the user can access to more information about the reference and among others about the abstract.


The "Results" topic is a web page giving an overview of the project results, publications and symposium proceedings as well as an access to databases and Decision Support systems demo releases.


The "Services" topic is  a web page with services proposed by the consortium to open the project to other collaborators.


The "Events" topic is a web page that relates the important public events relating to the project.


Behind those topics, links are included to access to the confidential site and to the STRATFEED Home page.


Private part of the web site


The private part is accessible from the public Home page by clicking on "Confidential site" topic. The protection and the confidentiality of data and information provided by the partners is assured by:

  • - Use of a web site secure server certificate for proving the identity and ownership of domain names and for enabling confidential communication between the web server and the STRATFEED users connected.
  • - Installation of a computer system on a dedicated machine (server) protected by a Firewall installed between the Internet and the private zone of the STRATFEED web site.
  • - Using of a personal login and password system to access the confidential scientific database and information.
  • - Implementation of anti-virus software on the STRATFEED server.
  • - Regular updating of the operating system (patching).
  • - Periodic change of personal passwords.


All accesses to the site and specially those concerning the confidential part of the site are logged in specific files in order to produce statistics.


The Home page of the confidential site is built in the same way as the Home page of the public part with on the left frame the different topics proposed on the left frame and presented in the next paragraphs


The "Newsletter" topic is a web page to present the newsletters with links to the documents in pdf format.


The "Meetings" topic is a web page to present the meetings organised in the project area with links to the lectures in pdf or ppt format.


The "Reports" topic is a web page to present the reports written for the European Commission with links to the documents in pdf format.


The "European Commission Documents" topic informs the partner about the documents relating to a European project and amongst others about the Technological Implementation Plan (eTIP).


The "Consortium Documents" topic informs the partner about the administrative documents defining the work conditions of the consortium.


The "Databases" topic presents the different applications developed in the project: the STRATFEED Explorer and the Decision Support Systems



Journal article


Vermeulen, P., Oger, R., Martinez, M., Baeten, V. & Dardenne, P. (2004). Development of an internet based data explorer for a samples database: the example of the STRATFEED project. Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment, 8 (4), 235-240.


Vermeulen, P., Baeten, V., Dardenne, P., van Raamsdonk, L., Oger, R., Monjoie, A.-S. & Martinez, M. (2003). Development of a website and an information system for a EU R&D project: the example of the STRATFEED project. Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment, 7 (3-4), 161-169.




Vermeulen, P., Oger, R., van Raamsdonk, L., Monjoie, A.-S., Martinez, M., Baeten, V. & Dardenne, P. (2005). Development of the STRATFEED Internet-Oriented computer system (WP6). In: Strategies and methods to detect and quantify mammalian tissues in feedingstuffs, Brussels, European Commission, 18p.




van Raamsdonk, L. (2004). The decision support system ARIES. Poster in: International symposium on Food and Feed safety in the context of prion diseases, Namur - Belgium, 16-18 June 2004.

Vermeulen, P., Baeten, V., Dardenne, P., van Raamsdonk, L., Oger, R., Monjoie, A.-S. & Martinez, M. (2004). Development of a website and an information system for an EU R&D project: the example of the STRATFEED project. Poster in: International symposium on Food and Feed safety in the context of prion diseases, Namur - Belgium, 16-18 June 2004.

Vermeulen, P., Baeten, V., Dardenne, P., van Raamsdonk, L., Oger, R., Monjoie, A.-S. & Martinez, M. (2004). Development of an internet based data explorer: the example of the STRATFEED explorer. Poster in: International symposium on Food and Feed safety in the context of prion diseases, Namur - Belgium, 16-18 June 2004.


This work was coordinated by CRA-W in collaboration with JRC-IRMM, AFSCA, FUSAGx, RIKILT, NUTRECO, SAC, ISS, UCO, LAGC, ALP, LUFA and PDIR


Walloon Agricultural Research Centre


Dr Pierre Dardenne, Dr Vincent Baeten, Dr Gilbert Berben,

Dr R. Oger, Ir Philippe Vermeulen

Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements

European Commission - DG - Joint Research Centre


Dr Christoph von Holst

Federal Feed & Food Laboratory of Tervuren


Ir Jeroen Vancutsem

Gembloux Agricultural Universit??y


Prof Daniel Portetelle

Institute of Food Safety


Dr Jacob de Jong, Dr Leo van Raamsdonk, Dr Henk Aarts, Mr Rob Frankhuizen

Masterlab BV


Ir Jos Zegers

Scottish Agricultural College


Dr Ian Murray, Rhona Patterson

Italian National Institute of Health


Dr Gianfranco Brambilla, Dr Gabriele Vaccari


School of Agriculture and Forestry Engineering ??of the University of Cordoba

UCO (Sp)

Prof Dr Ana Garrido Varo, Ir Ma Dolores Perez Marin

Prof Dr Augusto Gomez Cabrera, Prof Dr José Emilio Guerrero Ginel

Laboratory of the autonomous government of Catalonia


Dr Jaume Bosch, Dr Silvia Termes