Lineas de investigacion

Bioactive molecules and biotransformation (MOLBIOTRANS)



Research on the occurrence, biological activity and metabolic biotransformation of bioactive and toxic molecules in foods and plants as well as of new drugs, emphasizing on nitrogen heterocyclic compounds, indoles and alkaloids. We investigate their biological activity as enzyme inhibitors and/or substrates and their participation in the scavenging or generation of free radicals as well as in the formation of new toxic o bioactive agents.

Research Lines

  • Indole compounds and bioactive and toxic alkaloids in foods and plants.
  • Biological activity and biotransformation of indole compounds, heterocycles and alkaloids.


  • Identification, chemical characterization and chromatographic analysis of nitrogen and heterocyclic compounds, alkaloids, and metabolites by high resolution chromatographic techniques and mass spectrometry.
  • Enzyme acitivity and inhibition. Biotransformation.
  • Antioxidant and radical scavenging activity. Anti-nitrosative activity.


  • “Procedimiento de obtención de los alcaloides activos de la planta medicinal Peganum harmala y su uso”. ES 2 360 547 A1 (P200930942). 2-11-2009 . No licenciada. T. Herraiz, H. Guillen, V.J. Arán, D. Gonzalez


Group Leader:


  • Tomás Herraiz – (Research scientist)


  • 91 562 29 00


alkaloids, indole compounds, biological activity, oxidoreductases, biotransformation, antioxidants


  • Herraiz, T.; Guillen, H. ; González-Peña, D. ; Arán, V.J. Antimalarial quinoline drugs inhibit beta-hematin and increase free hemin catalyzing peroxidative reactions and inhibition of cysteine proteases. Scientific Reports 9, 15398 (2019).  DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-51604-z
  • Manzano, J.I.; Cueto-Diaz, E.J.; Olias-Molero, A.I.; Perea, A.; Herraiz, T.; Torrado, J.J. ; Alunda, J.M.; Gamarro, F.; Dardonville, C. Discovery and pharmacological studies of 4-hydroxyphenyl-derived phosphonium salts active in a mouse model of visceral Leishmaniasis. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 62, 10664-10675 (2019). DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.9b00998.
  • Herraiz, T.; Galisteo, J. Nitrosative deamination of 2′-deoxyguanosine and DNA by nitrite, and antinitrosating activity of beta-carboline alkaloids and antioxidants. Food Chem. Toxicol. 112, 282-289 (2018);  DOI:10.1016/j.fct.2017.12.042
  • Herraiz, T.; Flores, A.; Fernandez, L. Analysis of monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzymatic activity by high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection combined with an assay of oxidation with a peroxidase and its application to MAO inhibitors from foods and plants. J. Chromatogr. B-Anal. Technol. Biomed. Life Sci. 1073, 136-144 (2018); DOI: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2017.12.004
  • Herraiz, T.; Guillén, H.; Arán, V.J.; Salgado, A. Identification, occurrence and activity of quinazoline alkaloids in Peganum harmala. Food Chem. Toxicol. 103, 261-269 (2017); DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.03.010
  • Herraiz, T. N-methyltetrahydropyridines and pyridinium cations as toxins and comparison with naturally-occurring alkaloids. Food Chem. Toxicol. 97, 23-39 (2016); DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2016.08.009

Projects, Contracts, Agreements

FEDER projects

Fighting chronic diseases with new therapeutic approaches to modulate the endocannabinoid system.

Main Researcher: N. Jagerovic y A. Castro (IP ICTAN: T. Herráiz) / Start Date: 01/01/2019 / End Date: 12/31/2021 / Institution: MCIU/AEI/ERDF, EU / Reference number: RTI2018-095544-B-I00
Research Group: Bioactive molecules and biotransformation (MOLBIOTRANS)

Development of drugs targeting mitochondria-like organelles as therapeutic approach to the treatment of neglected parasitic diseases.

Main Researcher: C. Dardonville y A. Gómez-Barrio (ICTAN: T. Herráiz) / Start Date: 01/01/2019 / End Date: 12/31/2023 / Institution: MCIU/AEI/ERDF, EU / Reference number: RTI2018-093940-B-I00
Research Group: Bioactive molecules and biotransformation (MOLBIOTRANS)

PhD Thesis, Master's Thesis and Degree Thesis

Display PhD Thesis, Master's Thesis and Degree Thesis

Tesis Doctoral: “Biotransformación metabólica e inhibición enzimática de los alcaloides beta-carbolina presentes en alimentos y plantas” (2015)

Author: Hugo Guillén Fuerte / Director: Tomás Herraiz Tomico

Institution: Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Facultad de Veterinaria