Food Chemistry

The research purposes of this area are multidisciplinary involving several topics of natural products and food chemistry, food processing, biochemistry and nutrition:

1) Polyphenolic characterization of foods and beverages, which includes the isolation and structural characterization of new polyphenols from different food matrixes (e.g. fruits, red wine, olive oil) and the study of their physical-chemical and sensorial properties (such as colour and flavour).

2) Chemical transformations of polyphenols that occur in some food products (e.g. red wine and olive oil) during processing and ageing.

3) Synthesis of new polyphenolic compounds and assessment of their putative applications (e.g. food additives such as colorants).

4) Interaction between polyphenols and proteins at two distinct levels: one focused on the mechanisms involved in food taste (e. g. astringency) and another regarding the interaction between food polyphenols and digestive enzymes in order to evaluate anti-nutritional effects.

5) Antioxidant and biological properties of food polyphenols such as anti-atherosclerotic and anti-carcinogenic properties. The antioxidant properties of food polyphenols are assayed through different in vitro methods. Bioavailability studies of food polyphenols and new polyphenolic compounds are also performed using different cell lines that mimic different barriers (gastric, intestinal and BBB).