Inicio de sesión

Quality and Safety of Plant foods

​The group works on nutritional quality of plant foods, mainly bioactive compounds, and the application of processed to obtain formulations with health benefits. In addition, to obtain hypoallergenic foods, its protein and genomic analysis and the detection of allergens through molecular biology techniques.

Grupo de investigación dependiente del

​Departamento de Tecnología de los  Alimentos

The main objectives of the group are focused on the study of the nutritional quality of plant foods through the determination and characterization of nutritional and bioactive compounds and their connection in health. Besides, the group researches on developing hypoallergenic foods, its proteomic and genomic analysis and in the detection of allergens through molecular biology techniques. 

New formulations and processing applications are being studied to obtain new products that help to increase the consumption of plant foods in a simple way, as well as, to get foods with high nutritional quality and health benefits.


R&D Activities

The Plant Food Quality and Safety group works to realize safe, higher quality and healthier foods, adapted to new consumption habits, making the most of existing resources and with the least possible generation of contaminants.

The aim is to obtain hypoallergenic food for obtaining healthier foods in addition to its possible use in immunotherapy (food vaccines) to generate tolerance to severe food allergens (peanut, hazelnut, pistachio and cashew) through the improvement of thermal technological processes, of pressure and enzymes that can minimize the global allergenicity of the food.

Furthermore, in the detection of allergens in food, it is intended to offer simpler alternatives such as electroanalytical sensor bioplataformas (biosensors) for the detection of peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and cashew nuts in processed foods. Oligonucleotides or immunosensors (allergens or antibodies) immobilized on commercial magnetic particles will be used as bioreceptors.

Other lines are aimed at developing new foods fortified with legume flour to improve its nutritional and functional value.

Design new formulations for the preparation of fresh pasta by adding legume flour and edible mushrooms to improve their nutritional and functional value. Determine the functional composition of legumes and mushrooms used, as well as the products made from them.

Sensory analysis of the fresh pasta developed to know the acceptance of these new foods.

It is also intended to develop mixed gels combining fish and legumes proteins. In vitro digestibility studies are being carried out to determine the bioavailability of some of the bioactive compounds that provide legume flours in the products and gels made.​ ​


International and national cooperation

  • Member State of European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
  • Cooperation in research activities with Dr. N. Novak and Dr. B. Cabanillas (U. Bonn) on the study of the allergenic effect of pistachio and cashew by effector cells.
  • Collaboration with Dr Borderías (ICTAN, CSIC) in the development of mixed gels from fish muscle protein and legumes, healthier and sustainable.
  • Cooperation with Dr K. Allaf and Dr. J. Haddad (U. La Rochelle) for the DIC technology application on legumes and tree nuts.
  • Collaboration with Dr. L Rubio (Zaidin, CSIC) to determine the nutritional value of protein fractions of legumes.
  • Collaboration with the Drs. MC Moreno Bondi and E Peña (Dpto. Química Analítica, UCM) for the development of biosensors up to detecting lectin PHA based on Phage Display technology.
  • Collaboration with the Drs. I. Ballesteros and J.M. Álvarez (UDLA, Ecuador) for the physical-chemical characterization and evaluation of antimicrobial properties of stingless honeys.
  • Collaboration with Drs. JF Crespo and B Cabanillas (Hospital 12 Octubre, Madrid) for the allergenicity study of legumes and nuts.
  • Collaboration with Drs. K Allaf (U. La Rochelle; France) and J Haddad (U. Lebanese; Lebanon) for the application of DIC technology to legumes and nuts.
  • Collaboration with the Drs. R Linacero and J Rueda (Dpto. Genética, Fisiología y Microbiología, UCM) to develop real-time PCR-based allergen detection methods. Since 2008, the collaboration has been very close, sharing the direction of doctoral theses, master’s thesis and final degree papers, as well as numerous publications.
  • Collaboration with the Drs. N Novak and B Cabanillas (U. Bonn) to analyze the effect of pistachio and cashew on the allergic response by studying effector cells.
  • Collaboration with the Drs I. Ferreira and L. Barros (Biochemcore, IPB-CIMO, Bragança, Portugal) to analyze the effect of the extrusion-cooking in the bioactive compounds and bioactivities of snacks enriched with different legumes.
  • Collaboration with Dr. S Maleki (ARS-USDA, New Orleans) for the study of allergenicity of peanut, pistachio and cashew and the effect of combined processing (thermo-enzymatic-sonication).
  • Collaboration with Drs. JM Pingarrón and S. Campuzano (Dpto. Química Analítica, UCM) for the development of biosensors for nut allergen detection.
  • Collaboration with Drs. C Blanco (Servicio Alergología, HU La Princesa. Madrid), P Gamboa (Servicio de Alergia, HU de Cruces. Barakaldo), J Cuesta (Servicio Alergia, Fundación J Diaz. Madrid), S Quirce/ R Rodriguez (Servicio de Alergia, HU La Paz. Madrid), A Vega (Servicio de Alergia, HU Guadalajara-Integrated Management. Guadalajara) for the supply of allergic patient sera.

Advisory activities and services

Advisory activities have been carried out as an ACERTA, BAIAFOODS technical expert.

Dissemination activities

Participation in congresses

Oral communication at the 6th International Conference on Food Digestion. (Granada, Spain).

Presentation of four posters at the 3rd International Legume Society (ILS3) congress (Poznan, Poland).

Presentation of a poster and an oral presentation at the XX Eurofoodchem (Porto, Portugal).

Oral Communication at the XXXVII Biennial Meeting of the Spanish Society of Chemistry (San Sebastian, Spain).

Presentation of a poster and an oral presentation at the EAACI Digital Congress 2020 (London, UK).

Invited lectures

‘Food allergens: influence of technological processes’. Organized by Agroindustrial Engineering Webinar, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, UDLA, Ecuador, 5 May 2020.

Dissemination articles

‘Use of native legumes in pig nutrition’. Emilio Gómez Izquierdo, Luis Gómez Raya, Luis Alberto García Cortes, Juan José Ciruelos Pellón, Eduardo de Mercado, Ana Belén Martin Diana, Mercedes Martín Pedrosa y Wendy Mercedes Rauw. Journal SUIS Nº 167-2020.

Training activities

Organization of ‘Biotechnology in the Food Company’ at the Complutense Summer School. 7-25 July 2014, 3-21 July 2017, 6-24 July 2020.

Tutoring of External Academic Internships Curricular students of 4th year of the Degree in Biotechnology of the ETSIAAB-UPM, and students of the Master of Novel Food of the Faculty of Sciences of the UAM.

Degree Projects

Analysis of the allergenic capacity of cashew nuts and influence of technological processing. Fátima Vicente Martín. Supervisor: Carmen Cuadrado. Degree in Biotechnology. ETSIAAB-UPM. July 2019.

Master Projects

Design of DNA probes for the detection of food allergens. Jorge Ruiz de Castilla González. Supervisors: Carmen Cuadrado and Rosario Linacero de la Fuente. Master in Health Biology, Madrid Complutense University. July 2020.

Influence of thermal, pressure and enzymatic processing on the allergenic potential of nuts. Fátima Vicente Martín. Supervisor: Carmen Cuadrado. Master in Novel Foods. UAM, July 2020.​

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