Grain seeds for health promotion

Home » Research Teams » Grain seeds for health promotion (GRAINS4HEALTH)

GRAINS4HEALTH is an interdisciplinary research group focused on grains research to promote health through nutrition. Our group study legumes, cereals, pseudo-cereals and their by-products to obtain safe, quality and convenient food and functional ingredients through sustainable and innovative strategies. We pay special dedication to the optimization, modeling, development and validation of innovative processing technologies to promote the formation of biologically active compounds that contribute to reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases and to improve the safety and nutritional quality of gluten-free foods for celiac people.


The main objective of the GRAINS4HEALH group is to produce healthy ingredients and foods from grains-based products and by-products of agri-food interest through sustainable technological approaches that mainly include germination, fermentation and enzymatic hydrolysis.

Research Lines

  • Exploration of underused grain seeds (autochthonous legumes, ancestral grains, minority cereals) to obtain nutritious and functional ingredients promoting biodiversity.
  • Valorization of by-products from the agri-food industry for the sustainable production of functional ingredients and their use in food innovation.
  • Modeling of biotechnological processes for the sustainable development of fermented, germinated and hydrolyzed foods from grains and their derivatives to maximize the nutritional profile and bioactivity of their ingredients.


  • Seed germination, fermentation of plant foods, enzyme hydrolysis under high hydrostatic pressure process.
  • Analysis of bioactive compounds (plant-food derived peptides, gamma-aminobutyric acid, glucosinolates and hydrolysis derived products, antioxidant vitamins, phenolic compounds) by LC-MS, LC-MS/MS, LC-QToF and EC.
  • Determination of antioxidant capacity (ORAC-FL), antihypertensive activity (ECA inhibition by FL), antiinflamaty (pro- and anti-inflammatorios biomarcarkers by cell cultured murine macrophages RAW 264.7 using molecular and immunological tecniques) and mechanisms of action.


  • Extruded from corn with integral flours of quinoa and germinated kiwicha.
  • Inventors: C. Martínez, E Peñas, J Frias, LM Paucar, AA Lavado, AL Verona, WD Simpalo, WE Castillo. 
  • Application number (date): 2022-V01-103188 (2022).
  • Procedure for obtaining germinated brown rice grains and derived products that comprise biologically active compounds.
  • Inventors: J. Frias, C. Martínez-Villaluenga, P.J. Caceres, E. Peñas, L. Amigo. 
  • Priority date:  30 enero 2014.
  • Owner entity: CSIC, Serrano 117, 28006 Madrid.
  • Application number: P201430115
Grupo de Investigación GRAINS4HEALTH


Scientific Personnel:

Technical personnel:



  • N. Aparicio-García, C. Cristina Martínez-Villaluenga, J. Frias, E. Peñas (2021). Sprouted oat as a potential gluten-free ingredient with enhanced nutritional and bioactive properties. Food Chemistry, 338, article id. 127972.
  • S. Bautista-Exposito, I. Tome-Sanchez, A.B. Martin-Diana, J. Frias, E. Peñas, D. Rico, C. Martinez-Villaluenga. (2020). Enzyme selection and application of hydrothermal and enzymatic treatments under optimal conditions improved phenolic acids solubility, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of wheat bran. Antioxidants, 9, 984.
  • I. Tome-Sanchez, A.B. Martin-Diana, E. Peñas, S. Bautista-Exposito, J. Frias, D. Rico. L. Gonzalez-Maillo, C. Martinez-Villaluenga. (2020). Soluble phenolic composition tailored by germination conditions accompany antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of wheat. Antioxidants, 9, 426.
  • K. E. Coello, J. Frias, C. Martínez-Villaluenga, C. Martínez-Villaluenga, M. E. Cartea, R. Abilleira, E. Peñas. (2020). Potential of germination in selected conditions to improve the nutritional and bioactive properties of Moringa (Moringa oleifera L.). Foods, 9, 1639.
  • S. Bautista-Exposito, E. Peñas, J. Frias, C. Martinez-Villaluenga. (2019). Pilot-scale produced fermented lentil protects against t-BHP-triggered oxidative stress by activation of Nrf2 dependent on SAPK/JNK phosphorylation. Food Chemistry, 274, 750-759.
  • P. J. Cáceres, E. Peñas, C. Martínez-Villaluenga, P. Mora, J. Frias. (2019). Development of a novel multifunctional yogurt-like product from germinated brown rice. LWT-Food Science and Technology, 99, 306-312.

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