Department of Technological Processes and Biotechnology (DPTB)

The main objective of the Department of Technological Processes and Biotechnology (DPTB) is to improve food quality and safety by applying innovative technologies and biotechnological strategies.

On the one hand, research is carried out on new processes of technological interest in foodstuffs to improve their preparation, functionality, preservation, quality, safety and traceability. In addition, mathematical modelling is performed to optimize these processes.

One of the department’s fields of research focuses on high hydrostatic pressure as an alternative to traditional thermoprocessing and other conventional procedures. All the possibilities offered by this technology are studied, from food processing with high hydrostatic pressure to hyperbaric storage, freezing or thawing. The effects of these new processes on the quality of food and food components and their feasibility in the food industry are evaluated.

Another activity is the design of new methods, based on the use of chiral biosensors and multidimensional chromatographic techniques, for the stereochemical evaluation of chiral markers and the study of their impact on the biological activity of foods.

As for research in bacterial biotechnology, the aim is to use new approaches based on functional genomics and biotechnological processes to generate useful knowledge to develop bacteria, enzymes and metabolites to improve the quality and safety of foodstuffs.

Another of the department’s research fields is the investigation of innovative strategies for the use and valorisation of seed-grains and derived by-products of agri-food interest in order to develop functional foods and ingredients for the general population as well as for those groups with specific nutritional characteristics (e.g., people with food allergies and intolerances). Sustainable technological approaches are studied, mainly involving germination, fermentation and enzymatic hydrolysis with the aim of improving the quality, bioactivity and food safety.

Research Group on Bacterial biotechnology (BIOBACT)

  • Dr. Rosario Muñoz Moreno 
  • Dr. Félix López de Felipe Toledano 
  • Dr. Blanca de las Rivas González del Rey

Research Group on Bioactivity and Chirality (BIOCHIRAL)

  • Dr. Marta Herraiz Carasa

Grain seeds for health promotion (GRAINS4HEALTH)

  • Dr. Juana Frías Arevalillo 
  • Dr. Cristina Martínez Villaluenga 
  • Dr. Elena Peñas Pozo

Research Group on Innovative Processes and Food Quality (INNOTECHFOOD)

  • Dr. Laura Otero García 
  • Dr. Miriam Pérez Mateos 
  • Mª Victoria Santamaría Barceló
  • Ignacio Rodríguez Rodríguez 

The department has a wide range of instrumentation which includes:

  • Laboratory and pilot plant equipment with High Hydrostatic Pressure, as well as volume change, ultrasonic and thermal conductivity sensors for the determination of properties and behaviour of food and food components.
  • BioFlo/Celligen 115 bioreactor with a capacity of 3 L (New Brunswick).
  • Germination chamber model G-120 (ASL Snijders International S.L.)
  • Luminex 200 flow cytometer.
  • On-line coupled Multidimensional Gas Chromatography to Mass Spectrometry (GC-GC-MS) and on-line coupled Liquid Chromatography to Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (LC-GC-MS) for the analysis of chiral and achiral compounds.

Biochemical and molecular techniques are used to overproduce or inactivate enzymes of utility in improving the technological properties of bacteria as well as for the food industry. Capabilities are available to develop functional genomics approaches in bacteria of industrial interest to improve food safety and health effects.

The characterization of the nutritional, bioactive and immunochemical properties of food matrices and derived products is carried out, as well as the study of their gastrointestinal digestion behaviour and the evaluation of the bioaccessibility of nutrients and bioactive compounds.

Head of Departament

Blanca de las Rivas González del Rey