Over the last 30 years, many advances in the invention and implementation of new food processing technologies have been achieved. As a result, their effects on the principle agents responsible for alteration and/or toxic infection of foodstuffs have been described with great precision. Another much less known and in some cases unexplored topic, however, is the effect those agents can exert on further, considerably important aspects surrounding the quality and safety of foodstuffs: their functional properties, the presence of anti-nutritional factors, biologically active compounds, allergens and abiotic contaminants (such as residues from antibiotics, biogenic amines, aflatoxins, etc.).
This consortium’s global objective is to evaluate the impact of new food processing technologies on the nutritional value and functional properties of foodstuffs, in conjunction with the potential presence of allergens and biotic or abiotic contaminants therein – as a preliminary and necessary step toward the implementation of those technologies in the agrofood industry of the Ebro Valley region.
LINEAS DE INVESTIGACION
For each one of the food processing technologies under consideration, the consortium proposes to define food treatment conditions that will ensure the production of safe foods, while at the same time
- Evaluating those procedures’ effect on nutritional value, functional properties and biologically active compounds in specific foodstuffs, while determining which conditions can ensure that those qualities are maintained or even improved in the future;
- Evaluating those procedures’ effect on anti-nutritional factors, allergens and abiotic contaminants, while determining which conditions are capable of inhibiting, inactivating or destroying such agents.
Thus it will be decided whether new food processing technologies represent an adequate alternative to existing ones, and whether they can be adopted as a new and valid proposal to help develop and implement new products in the Ebro Valley region. Research results can be published as articles in journals of international impact and prestige; they will also lead to new patents, and to technology transfer contracts with the food industry.
MEMBERS OF THE CONSORTIUM
Research Coordinator: Rafael Pagán (University of Zaragoza)
3 research groups specialized in new food processing technologies:
- Group of Research in Innovative Technologies for the Obtainment of Food Ingredients and Products (University of Lleida)
- Group of Research in Food Technology and Hygiene (University of La Rioja)
2 research groups specializing in the evaluation of nutritional value, functional and allergen properties of foodstuffs, bioactive components, biogenic amines, etc.:
- Analytical Chemistry and Oenology Group (Public University of Navarra)
- Applied Organometallic Chemistry Group (University of Zaragoza/CSIC)
2 biotechnology firms specialized in the development of tests and sensors for the detection of biotic and abiotic contaminants:
2 agrofood processing firms:
- 3 researchers pertaining to the Spanish National Center of Food Technology and Safety (CNTA), an institution with widespread experience in food processing and food quality evaluation, regrouping the great majority of agrofood firms in the Ebro Valley area and surroundings;
- 1 researcher from the “Biosensors” group of Perpignan University (France).