RESEARCH LINES - PPGCA

  • FOOD ANALYSIS:

Near-Infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and chemometric methods for food analysis. Quality parameters and food adulteration. Time-domain Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (TD-NMR) and chemometric tools for evaluation of food compounds. Validation and application of methods for the analysis of toxic minerals and metals in food and packaging. Estimation of the mineral bioaccessibility in foods. Enzymatic treatment of foods to increase the mineral bioavailability. Migration of toxic metals from food packaging. Visible and ultraviolet spectroscopy for food analysis. Chromatographic techniques for evaluating and quantifying compounds of interest in foods. Techniques for evaluating antioxidant activities in foods, such as DPPH, FRAP, ABTS, ORAC, etc. Proximate composition of food, concerning moisture, ash, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids contents. Validation and application of methods for the analysis of phenolic compounds, vitamins, and additives in food and packaging.

 

  • FOOD BIOCHEMISTRY:

Use of microbial hydrological enzymes to obtain bioactive compounds from agroindustry residues. Fermentation processes for obtaining extracts rich in bioactive compounds. Bioavailability of bioactive compounds by cell culture models and in vitro digestion. Natural products such as functional foods for the production of functional foods. Identification and quantification of bioactive compounds in fruits, herbs, and vegetables. Biological evaluation of functional foods and bioactive compounds in cellular and animal systems, and determination of antioxidative, antimutagenic, antidiabetogenic capacities. Evaluation of the preventive effect on non-communicable degenerative diseases. Bioflavors as functional ingredients in food. Enzymes of microbial, plant, and animal origin. Selection of microorganisms that synthesize enzymes and other metabolites. Enzyme production: optimization of fermentation processes, extraction, and purification. Enzyme characterization. Enzyme application. Immobilization of enzymes and microorganisms. Production of oligosaccharides/prebiotics, flavors, bioactive peptides, alternative sugars, etc. Biotransformation of agro-industrial products for the production of molecules with high added value. Microorganisms for the production of bioflavors, biocolors, biosurfactants, lipids, vitamins, antimicrobial compounds, prebiotics, thickening agents, among others. Study and optimization of fermentation processes and extraction of microbial compounds of interest in the food industry. Use of agro-industrial by-products and residues as a strategy for adding value and reducing costs in bioprocesses. Co-production of microbial metabolites in a single bioprocess.

 

  • FOOD MICROBIOLOGY:

Incidence, quantification, and phenotypic and genotypic characterization of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms in foods. Important spore-forming bacteria and heat-resistant molds in food. Beneficial microorganisms in food and beverages. Effects of unit operations and processing on spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms in food. Thermobacteriology applied to food. Predictive modeling of the behavior of spoilage/pathogenic bacteria and mycotoxigenic fungi in food. Risk analysis. Construction, validation, and application of quantitative risk assessment models for pathogenic bacteria, mycotoxigenic fungi, and parasites/protozoa in food. Listeria monocytgenes, Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli, Aeromonas spp., Clostridium difficile, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus spp., Bacillus cereus: detection, virulence potential, genetic characterization, thermal resistance, and antimicrobial resistance profile. Gene expression in food. Multispecies biofilms. Quorum sensing. Evaluation of bacterial metabolites. Anaerobic bacteria of interest in food. Molecular subtyping and tracking of microorganisms in food industries. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and medicinal and aromatic plant extracts: determination of minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal and fungicidal concentrations; mechanisms of action. Effects on important yeasts of food; on bacteria, and phytopathogenic fungi in different cultures, on the post-harvest of fruits, growth, and production of mycotoxins by mycotoxigenic fungi; as a natural antimicrobial in meat products; action on Staphylococcus aureus isolated from bovine mastitis; on broiler diets; and as antibacterials in fish feed. Use of microorganisms, molds, and bacteria, and/or enzymes in the degradation of organic pollutants generated by the food industry. Optimization conditions for the development of these microorganisms or enzyme production. Genomics of important microorganisms in food. Prevalence of pathogens in food of animal origin with an emphasis on "livestock" clones. Phenotypic and genotypic analysis of bacterial virulence and resistance. Use of next-generation sequencing, Sanger sequencing, bioinformatics, and pulsed-field electrophoresis for typing of pathogenic microorganisms of interest in food. Gene expression of virulence factors in bacteria.

 

  • FOOD CHEMISTRY:

GC-MS, GC-SPME-MS, and HPLC-MS/MS methods for the determination of lipid compounds and products derived from lipid oxidation. Formation and inhibition of cholesterol oxides using model and food systems. Formation and inhibition of metabolites from fatty acid oxidation. Stability of fatty acids and cholesterol during storage and heat treatment. Deactivation capacity of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Impact and mechanisms of action of natural antioxidants on lipid oxidation using model and food systems. Evaluation, characterization of bioactive compounds from coffee and its derivatives, and application as an antioxidant. Chemical composition of essential oils. Bioaccessibility in vitro of cholesterol, fatty acids, and coffee components. High-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detectors and mass spectrometer (HPLC-DAD-MS/MS), in analytical and semi-preparative systems, for the analysis of carotenoids, anthocyanins, and other phenolic compounds in foods. Effects of daphoclimatic factors, processing parameters, and storage conditions on the composition of carotenoids, anthocyanins, and other phenolic compounds in fruits. Stability of carotenoids and anthocyanins, identification of degradation products, kinetics, and mechanisms. Culture variables in the production of carotenoids by microorganisms. Microencapsulation and its effect on stability, antioxidant capacity, and in vitro digestion of carotenoids. Ability to deactivate reactive oxygen and nitrogen species from pure compounds, formulations, and natural food extracts. In vitro bioaccessibility of carotenoids using model and food systems - metabolites and the effects on antioxidant capacity. Impact of food processing on the structure and properties of food proteins. Interaction between proteins and between proteins and bioactive molecules in model systems and complex matrices. Chemical and technological aspects of protein ingredients. Technological effects and potential applications of supramolecular structures of food proteins.

 

  • FOOD TOXICOLOGY:

Food additives (toxicological studies and exposure estimation). Naturally occurring toxic substances and compounds formed during food processing, environmental contaminants, migration of chemicals from packaging to food, mycotoxins (occurrence and exposure estimation). Protective effect of dietary fiber against toxic substances from food sources. Pesticide residues and veterinary drugs used in the primary production of plant and animal foods. Pharmacokinetics and depletion studies of veterinary drugs in food-producing species for human consumption; effect of processing and storage on the level of toxic compounds in food. Food adulteration. Development and validation of analytical methods for the determination of toxic compounds in food. Human exposure assessment through intake estimation studies, and identification of biological markers. Health risk assessment and development of mitigation strategies along the food chain aimed at consumer safety.