Bioactive molecules and biotransformation

Home » Research Teams » 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.
  • Author(s): T. Herraiz, H. Guillen, V.J. Arán, D. Gonzalez.
  • Date: 02-11-2009
  • Number: ES 2 360 547 A1 (P200930942).
  • Licensed: No.
  • Preparation of β-carboline from natural products and foods having monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibiting activity.
  • Author(s): T. Herraiz, J. Galisteo, C. Chaparro.
  • Date: 02-08-2007
  • Number: WO2007085679 (PCT/ES2007/070016).
  • Licensed: No.




  • Herraiz, T.; Peña, A.; Salgado, A. Identification, formation, and occurrence of perlolyrine: A β-Carboline alkaloid with a furan moiety in foods. J. Agric. Food Chem. 71(36):13451–61 (2023).
  • Herraiz T. β-Carboline alkaloids in soy sauce and inhibition of monoamine oxidase (MAO). Molecules. 28(6) 2723 (2023).
  • Herraiz, T.; Peña, A.; Mateo, H.; Herraiz, M.; Salgado, A. Formation, characterization, and occurrence of β-carboline alkaloids derived from α-dicarbonyl compounds and L-tryptophan. J. Agric. Food Chem. 70(29):9143–53 (2022).
  • Herraiz, T; Vera, F. Occurrence, formation from D-fructose and 3-deoxyglucosone, and activity of the carbohydrate-derived β-carbolines in foods. J. Agric. Food Chem.69(23):6650–64 (2021).
  • 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).
  • 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. J. Med. Chem 62, 10664-10675 (2019).