Group members

Research Staff

  • M. Mar Villamiel Guerra (CIAL Director)
  • Antonia Montilla Corredera
  • F. Javier Moreno Andújar

Postdoctoral Staff

  • Oswaldo Hernández-Hernández (RyC)
  • Ana Muñoz Labrador

Predoctoral Staff

  • Iván Benito Vázquez
  • Manuel Garrido Romero
  • Paula López Revenga
  • Pablo Méndez Albiñana
  • Alejandro H. Sánchez Baca

Technical Staff

  • Matías Gabaldón Gabaldón
  • Diego Sande San Clemente

Research Summary

Initially, our research aimed at studying the modifications and interactions of two major macronutrients, carbohydrates and proteins, during storage and/or conventional and alternative thermal treatments of foods. The obtained results allowed the development of new analytical methods and the selection of a series of chemical indicators to evaluate the quality of heat-processed foods.

In recent years, the research lines have focused on the study of low glycemic index carbohydrates with prebiotic properties, given the interest shown towards the potential benefits of these carbohydrates in different aspects related to health not only by researchers and industry, but also by consumers. Therefore, currently, one of the main lines of work is the obtainment, characterization and evaluation of bioactive and technological properties of new carbohydrates and derivatives for subsequent use as food ingredients.

Much of our research activity is focused on the enzymatic synthesis and structural characterization of potential prebiotic oligosaccharides using different types of enzymes (commercial and new carbohydrate-modifying enzymes) and by-products of the food industry (chitosans, cheese permeate and pectins from orange, sunflower and artichoke) in order to improve the management of waste generated in the industries of fishing, dairy and fruit and vegetable processing.

In addition, different studies are carried out to optimize the fractionation, characterization and evaluation of bioactive (prebiotic, anti-adherent, anti-inflammatory, etc.) and technological (sweetness, stability during heat treatment and preservation, rheological properties, among others) properties of the new carbohydrates synthesized to elucidate their potential applications.

Highlighted publications

  • Delgado-Fernandez, P., De Las Rivas, B., Muñoz, R., Jimeno, M.L., Doyagüez, E.G., Corzo, N., Moreno, F.J. Biosynthesis of Nondigestible Galactose-Containing Hetero-oligosaccharides by Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1 MelA α-Galactosidase. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 69 (3), pp. 955-965, 2021.
  • Ferreira-Lazarte A, Moreno FJ, Villamiel M. Bringing the digestibility of prebiotics into focus: update of carbohydrate digestion models. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 61, (19), 3267-3278, 2021.
  • Gallego-Lobillo, P., Ferreira-Lazarte, A., Hernández-Hernández, O., Villamiel, M. In vitro digestion of polysaccharides: InfoGest protocol and use of small intestinal extract from rat. Food Research International, 140, art. no. 110054, 2021.
  • Julio-Gonzalez, L.C., Moreno, F.J., Jimeno, M.L., Doyagüez, E.G., Olano, A., Corzo, N., Hernandez-Hernandez, O. Hydrolysis and transglycosylation activities of glycosidases from small intestine brush-border membrane vesicles. Food Research International, 139, art. no. 109940, 2021.
  • Muñoz-Almagro, N., Montilla, A., Villamiel, M. Role of pectin in the current trends towards low-glycaemic food consumption. Food Research International, 140, art. no. 109851, 2021.
  • Muñoz-Labrador, A., Azcarate, S., Lebrón-Aguilar, R., Quintanilla-López, J.E., Galindo-Iranzo, P., Kolida, S., Methven, L., Rastall, R.A., Moreno, F.J., Hernandez-Hernandez, O. High-Yield Synthesis of Transglycosylated Mogrosides Improves the Flavor Profile of Monk Fruit Extract Sweeteners. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 69 (3), pp. 1011-1019, 2021.
  • Sabater, C., Blanco-Doval, A., Montilla, A., Corzo, N. Optimisation of an enzymatic method to obtain modified artichoke pectin and pectic oligosaccharides using artificial neural network tools. In silico and in vitro assessment of the antioxidant activity. Food Hydrocolloids, 110, art. no. 106161, 2021.

Recent Research Projects

  •  “Nuevas estrategias para la síntesis de compuestos bioactivos de interés alimentario empleando enzimas modificadoras de carbohidratos derivadas de Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS”.
    • Investigadores principales: F. J. Moreno y N. Corzo
    • Referencia: AGL2017-84614-C2-1-R
    • Organismo financiador: MINECO
    • Duración: 2018-2022
  • “Salud y bienestar intestinal a través de la microbiota. Investigación industrial y obtención de ingredientes y alimentos adaptados que promuevan el bienestar intestinal”.
    • Proyecto: SyBARIOTA
    • Financiación: CDTI MICIIN
    • Instituto de ejecución: Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación (CIAL)
    • Industria: PRONAT S.C.
    • Investigadoras participantes: Antonia Montilla Corredera y Nieves Corzo
    • Duración: 3 años, 2021-2024
  • “Nuevas estrategias para el aprovechamiento de la cáscara de naranja dirigidas a la producción de pectinas de calidad Premium”.
    • Financiación: CDTI MICIIN
    • Instituto de ejecución: Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación (CIAL)
    • Empresa: Cítricos del Andévalo (Grupo García-Carrión)
    • Investigadoras participantes: M. Mar Villamiel y Francisco Javier Moreno Andújar
    • Duración: 2 años, 2021-2023
  • “RIMICIA (Review Impact Microbiome In Assesment)”.
    • Financiación: Autoridad Europea de Seguridad Alimentaria (EFSA): Preparedness for future challenges in specific areas of efsa`s work). Evaluating the impact on/by gastro-intestinal (GI) tract microbiomes (human and domestic animal) in assessments under EFSA’s remit
    • Investigador principal: Francisco Javier Moreno Andújar (coordinador del proyecto)
    • Duración: 2.5 años, 2021-2023
  • “Obtención de pectina antioxidante mediante la aplicación de la tecnología verde de ultrasonido de frecuencia intermedia”.
    • Investigadora principal en Europa: M. Mar Villamiel
    • Financiación: FONDECYT-CONCYTEC (Lima, Perú)
    • Duración: 2021-2023