NPJ Sci Food. 2023 Sep 4;7(1):47. doi: 10.1038/s41538-023-00221-2.
We are witnessing an acceleration of the global drive to converge consumption and production patterns towards a more circular and sustainable approach to the food system. To address the challenge of reconnecting agriculture, environment, food and health, collections of large datasets must be exploited. However, building high-capacity data-sharing networks means unlocking the information silos that are caused by a multiplicity of local data dictionaries. To solve the data harmonization problem, we proposed an ontology on food, feed, bioproducts, and biowastes engineering for data integration in a circular bioeconomy and nexus-oriented approach. This ontology is based on a core model representing a generic process, the Process and Observation Ontology (PO2), which has been specialized to provide the vocabulary necessary to describe any biomass transformation process and to characterize the food, bioproducts, and wastes derived from these processes. Much of this vocabulary comes from transforming authoritative references such as the European food classification system (FoodEx2), the European Waste Catalogue, and other international nomenclatures into a semantic, world wide web consortium (W3C) format that provides system interoperability and software-driven intelligence. We showed the relevance of this new domain ontology PO2/TransformON through several concrete use cases in the fields of process engineering, bio-based composite making, food ecodesign, and relations with consumer’s perception and preferences. Further works will aim to align with other ontologies to create an ontology network for bridging the gap between upstream and downstream processes in the food system.