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Food Technology

Food Technology

Research activities within the department are focused on improving the safety and the sensorial, nutritional and functional quality of dairy, meat and plant products. We develop new processes and products through the use of novel technologies or  by the incorporation and characterization of ingredients, bioactive compounds and microorganisms with functional activity in foods.

Juan Luis Arqués Orobón


​Jefe departamento


​Avda. Puerta de Hierro, nº12, local 10. 28040 MADRID (España)

91 3473768


Our aim is to obtain safer, healthier foods, with higher quality or functional properties, meeting consumer expectations, through the application of new processes in the food industry, contributing to its technical and competitive development:​

  • Control strategies to inactivate food-borne pathogens through the application of minimal processing technologies, the genetic characterization of pathogens and traceability studies of persistent contamination in the industry, the study of their capacity to form biofilms and their molecular mechanisms of response to disinfectants and minimal processing treatments.

  • Improving the sensory quality and nutritional characteristics of dairy and meat products and the development of new processes and products, using innovative technologies, healthy ingredients, bioactive compounds or microorganisms with functional activities. Prevention of microbiological spoilage, increasing the shelf life of these products by the application of natural antimicrobials.

  • Improving the nutritional quality of plant foods, developing hypoallergenic foods and detecting allergens through molecular biology techniques. Removal of toxic compounds and development of new formulations with high nutritional quality and health benefits.

  • The development of new functional foods using lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria from the microorganism collection with good technological properties and probiotic potential, as their antimicrobial activity or their ability to metabolize phytoestrogens.


The activities of the Food Technology Department are organized in different research lines structured in four research groups. Two horizontal research groups, focused specifically on the improvement of food microbiological safety and the development of functional foods, and the other two centered specifically on foods of animal origin and plant foods.

  • Research lines:

    Food-borne pathogens inactivation through the application of minimal processing technologies

    Application of control strategies (high hydrostatic pressure and biopreservatives) to eliminate Listeria monocytogenes and enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus in meat products.

    Microbial ecology and traceability studies of food-borne pathogens

    Molecular tracking of L. monocytogenes, Salmonella enterica and Cronobacter spp. in food processing environments by whole genome sequencing.

    Molecular mechanisms of food-borne pathogens resistance in response to disinfectants

    Effect of disinfectants used in food processing environments on planktonic cells and biofilms of L. monocytogenes and S. enterica

    Improving the nutritional quality of dairy products

    Development and characterization of dairy products supplemented with edible seaweeds, or with plant extracts and probiotic microorganisms with hypocholesterolemic properties. Design of specific starter cultures for goat's cheeses, with autochthonous lactic acid bacteria, which might help to maintain their distinctive sensory characteristics

    Preventing microbiological spoilage of dairy products

    Use of emergent technologies (high-pressure processing) and natural antimicrobials (lactic acid bacteria producing bacteriocins or reuterin, bacteriophages and their endolysins) to preserve cheese from spoilage microorganisms 

    Improving the sensory quality of meat products

    Analysis of the microbiota, lipid oxidation, proteolysis and volatile compound profile of Iberian and Serrano dry-cured ham. Effect of dry-cured ham chemical composition, high-pressure treatments and refrigeration period on the characteristics of dry-cured hams. 

    Development of safer, healthier and high quality plant foods Elaboration of new hypoallergenic food products. Designing of new formulations enriched with legume flour to improve their nutritional and functional value. 

    Detection of allergens in plant food

    Development of biosensors for the detection of the main allergens of plant food origin in processed food.

    Characterization of the strains of the INIA Microorganism Collection for their application in functional food

    Characterization of the technological and health-promoting properties of lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria strains (antimicrobial production, ability to metabolize phytoestrogens, immunomodulatory properties) for the development of functional foods, with a special interest in improving health conditions in the senescence

    Development of vectors for lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria

    Development of vectors for the labelling with fluorescent proteins for the differentiation and monitorization of strains of interest, for their use as biosensors and for the production of compounds of interest. Development of food grade vectors.


The Food Technology Department comprises six laboratories of microbiology, dairy products, meat products, plant foods, molecular biology, and food biochemistry. It also includes two P2 microbiology laboratories in an independent building, a sensory analysis room and a food technology plant. The food technology plant includes three working areas: dairy products, meat products and food hygiene, and a high pressure equipment. In addition, the Food Quality Centre (CCA-INIA), located in Soria, joined the department in 2014.

  • Microorganism isolated from infant feces and breast milk of a mother-child pair.
    Patente | 300108476PCT/ES2013/070785.
  • Microorganismo aislado de leche materna y de heces de un lactante, y su uso como probiótico.
    Patente | 201231747 - P26472PCES
  • Método de fabricación de queso a partir de cuajada sometida a alta presión y congelación
    Patente | ES2351132A1
  • Método de prevención de la hinchazón tardía en queso mediante la aplicación de alta presión
    Patente | ES2537155B1

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