I3A-LAQV (Food & Water Science – Green Chemistry Laboratory) I3A-LAQV (Food & Water Science – Green Chemistry Laboratory) I3A-LAQV (Food & Water Science – Green Chemistry Laboratory)

The research interests of I3A - LAQV group are organized in six main topics:

● Chemical characterization of food components for selection of new or enhanced food plant varieties and for general quality assessment;

● Settlement of a relationship between food composition and quality parameters such as aroma, colour and flavour.

● Molecular characterization of agricultural species at the varietal level;

● Exploiting DNA-barcoding and high resolution melting analysis for species identification in foods (fish products and spices).

● Dietary exposure to food additives and unhealthy food components (trans fatty acids, salt);

● Assess the dissemination of a wide range of contaminants, namely:

i) agrochemical residues (e.g. pesticides, antibiotics);

ii) “emerging pollutants” such as flame retardants, disinfection by-products, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products;

iii) packaging materials and

iv) heat generated compounds (e.g. acrylamide, 4-methylimidazole, furans, heterocyclic aromatic amines) in foods or water. Assessment of mycotoxins (e.g. ochratoxin A, aflatoxins and zearalenone) and plant toxins (e.g. cyanogenic glycosides) in agricultural products.

● Follow the fate of contaminants by in vitro assays and in the human body through biomonitoring of biological fluids;

● Estimation of human and environmental risk and search for mitigation strategies to decrease food and water contamination.

● Optimization of traditional (grilling, barbecuing, baking, roasting) and advanced food processing methods (oven and osmotic dehydration, low-fat frying, microwave heating and high pressure) or formulae that preserve food components, enhance nutritional and sensorial characteristics, while reducing the formation of undesirable compounds;

● Develop microencapsulation techniques using different materials in order to stabilize food ingredients, extend food shelf-life and control taste.

● Valorisation of compounds recycled from agro-industrial wastes (brewer’s spent grain and spent yeast, fruit peels and pomace, spent coffee, eggshell and canned fish wastes), thereby promoting the sustainability of industrial processes and add value to the chain production of the industries by development of new and profitable ingredients;

● Optimization of the extraction of valuable compounds from plant cell walls and yeasts;

● Formulation of new appealing processed products, towards the improvement of preservation, prevention of lipid oxidation or formation of harmful compounds throughout cooking.

● Digestion, bioavailability and activity of nutrients/bioactive compounds assessed through in vitro methods using human cell lines and tissue models;

● Molecular, cellular and functional mechanisms that underlie protective/ therapeutic effects of nutrients and bioactive compounds against oxidative damage, hypertensive and vascular dysfunction, inflammation, angiogenesis, and cancer;

● Role of nutrition in the prevention of chronic diseases and overall health improvement. Impact of malnutrition on the pathophysiological mechanisms of foetal programming of hypertension.