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Department of Characterization, Quality and Safety (DCCS)

The Department of Characterization, Quality and Safety (DCCS) performs multidisciplinary research, with experts in chemistry, biochemistry, physics and food technology. Joint DCCS capacities allow achieving a global picture of food quality and safety. DCCS is committed to the development and chemical, biological and sensory characterization of foods and ingredients obtained from traditional, innovative and sustainable technologies, as well as on the study of the modifications and interactions of their constituents with the aim of improving food quality, safety and bioactivity.

Scientific areas:

  • Development and application of innovative analytical techniques for food products and constituents
  • Development of functional foods and ingredients of plant origin through innovative and sustainable technologies
  • Valorization of agri-food industry by-products to obtain bioactive ingredients.
  • Rheology and texture of fresh, processed and/or preserved foods
  • Physical and biophysical properties of foods: ice crystal dynamics in the freezing process. Glassy state
  • Technological, organoleptic, toxicological and nutritional implications of interactions and modifications of food constituents during technological processes.
  • Food chemical hazards and mitigation strategies.
  • Markers of food processing and preservation.
  • Biotechnology, novel postharvest and processing technologies to obtain safer and healthier products and food ingredients
  • Bioactivity, bioaccesibility and biotransformation of food ingredients and constituents.

Quality and functionality of plant foods (BIOACTIVEG)

  • Dr. Begoña de Ancos Siguero
  • Dr. Concepción Sánchez-Moreno González

Chemical modifications in processed foods(CHEMPROFOOD)

  • Dr. Francisco José Morales Navas
  • Dr. Marta Mesías García

Innovative Technologies for the Study of Food Bioactive Compounds (ENANTIOMET)

  • Dr. Gracia Patricia Blanch Manzano
  • Dr. María Luisa Ruiz del Castillo

Group of Biophysical Approaches to Food, Food Processing and Preservation (FoodCRYOPHYS)

  • Dr. Antonio Diego Molina García

Bioactive molecules and biotransformation (MOLBIOTRANS)

  • Dr. Tomás Herraiz Tomico

Biotechnology and Postharvest Quality (POSTBIOTEC)

  • Dr. Carmen Merodio Moreno
  • Dr. María Isabel Escribano Garaizábal
  • Dr. María Teresa Sánchez Ballesta
  • Dr. Irene Romero de la Fuente

Rheology and texture of foods (REOTEXTAL)

  • Dr. Mª Dolores Álvarez Torres

Postharvest Engineering and Physiology (FRUITCONTROL)

  • Dr. Jesús Alonso Sánchez
  • Francisca Holgado Arroyo
  • Lucía Giménez Cobo
  • Elena Olombrada Sacristán
  • Sara Bautista Expósito
  • Ana Irene Tomé Sánchez
  • Yadhira Briset Flores Ramírez
  • Haroll Samuel Mateo Feliz
  • Adriana Fuentes Peña

Chemical/Biochemical Studies: Chromatographic techniques (HPLC, GC, FPLC) coupled to mass spectrometry, fluorescence, refractive index, UV-vis, etc. Studies based on immunological, electrophoretic (gel and capillary electrophoretical), spectrophotometric and fluorometric approaches.

  • Plant protein purification; recombinant proteins; molecular biology techniques (gene expression by real time PCR, RNAseq).
  • Purification and analysis of populations of technofunctional polymers (melanoidins) in thermally processed foods.
  • Modifications of structural components: chemical, biochemical and enzymatic methods; metabolite identification and biological activity measurement.
  • Oxidative stability and thermal oxidation of lipids. Characterization and bioavailability of oxidized lipids and polymers.
  • Analysis and activity of nitrogen compounds, indols and alkaloids. Enzymatic biotransformation.
  • Evaluation of the antioxidant, antinitrosant antiradical, antihypertensive, antidiabetic and antiglycative capacity in in vitro models
  • Application of chemical and biochemical indexes to process control
  • Determination of novel chemical process contaminants (acrylamide, glycotoxins, furan, hydroxymethylfurfural, 3-monochloropropanediol esters)
  • Metabolomic evaluation of the effect of food and plant ingredient intake using advanced chromatographic techniques coupled to mass spectrometry.
  • Assessment of food authenticity and quality by stereodifferentiation of chiral compounds.
  • Studies on starch partial gelatinization by high hydrostatic pressures.
  • Exploitation of agri-food by-products and valorization of resources by means of supercritical fluid technology and enzymatic treatments assisted by high hydrostatic pressure.

Rheological, structural and biophysical studies

  • Rheological, structural and sensorial characterization of foods. Texture optimization
  • Physical and biophysical effects of low temperatures; low temperature calorimetry; water and lipid phase changes; glassy state; ice nucleation and recrystallization. Food nano-structure by microscopy and hydrodynamics

Comprehensive studies: multidisciplinary approach

  • Holistic risk-benefit evaluation of foods and processes
  • Mitigation strategies for the formation of chemical process contaminants.
  • Evaluation of nutritional quality and functional properties of foods by innovative analytical techniques, including biological activity markers, food bioactive compounds and immunological studies
  • Development of new functional foods and ingredients by non-thermal technologies.
  • Transcriptomic analyses associated to the improvement of postharvest fruit quality.
  • Consumption and acceptability studies
  • Effects of high hydrostatic pressures on foods: physical, biochemical, enzymatic, functional and nutritional aspects.
  • Valorization of agro-food industry by-products to obtain bioactive ingredients.
  • Evaluation of the biological activity of food and plant ingredients by in vitro (gastrointestinal digestion, cell cultures) and in vivo (animal models and human intervention studies) assays.
  • Nutrient delivery using high pressure partially gelatinized starch and alginate.
  • Natural colorants/antioxidants extraction, characterization and incorporation in foods.

Head of Department

Dr. M. Teresa Sanchez-Ballesta

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