Sustainable and Efficient Food Industries

Biodegradable active materials for food packaging

 

To develop environmentally friendly food packages without toxic compounds

Formulation of bioactive products in polymeric matrices

 

Overall improvement of safety in the food chain via natural and environmentally friendly chemicals for pest control and postharvest applications

Active coatings to extend the shelf-life of perishable foods

 

To develop new strategies to increase the shelf-life of food products by applying active coatings or packaging

Applications of microwave technology and high power ultrasound

 

To increase the productivity of food production processes and to improve the energy efficiency, quality and safety of the products obtained

Persimmon crop valorization

 

To explore alternatives uses of the waste generated in the cultivation of persimmon (leaves) and its subsequent processing/commercialization

Bioethanol production from citrus surplus and waste

 

To exploit the potencial of the waste generated by the processing industry of citrus juices to obtain more environmentally friendly biofuels (mainly bioethanol).

Environmental management in the food industry

 

Management and reutilization of solid waste and treatment,management and recovery of wastewater from food industry

Enology and viticulture

 

To develop strategies for increasing wine quality and to optimise treatment processes and wine fermentation

Biodegradable active materials for food packaging

· Development of biodegradable and edible polimeric films.

· Research on non-scalable drying and shaping techniques as well as conventional extrusion and injection processes.

· Some of the compounds studied: chitosan, caseinates, HPMC and other cellulose derivatives.

· Actual research is focused on obtaining thermoplastic biodegradable composites formed by thermoplastic starch, polylactic acid or polyhydroxyalkanoates amont others.

Formulation of bioactive products in polymeric matrices

· Incorporation of different natural antimicrobians (essential oils, propolis, lactic acid bacterias, biocontrol agents, etc.) to create biodegradable edible matrices that form a protective coating.

· Useful for pest control in the field and in post-harvest applications.

· Applicability in different agricultural sectors from the origin to the point of sale.

Active coatings to extend the shelf-life of perishable foods

· Development of food packaging-coatings to increase the shelf-life of cheeses, meat products, fish and other perishable foods.

· To promote the market penetration of coatings that can control the release of microbial agents and/or natural antioxidants.

Applications of microwave technology and high power ultrasound

· Optimisation of process variables for the extraction of phenolic compounds and pigments in wine grape.

· Design of industrial equipment based on low frequency and high intensity ultrasounds for applications that seek to increase the continuous extraction of compounds of interest.

· Optimisation of process variables for the reduction of acrylamide content usign non-conventional frying processes (microwave and hot air).

Persimmon crop valorization

· Analysis of strategies for pre- and post-harvest proccesing to extended the commercial period of the Bright Red Persimmon variety and its influence on the fruit quality.

· Analysis on the influence of stabilisation techniques on persimmon leaves and the antioxidant compounds of interest.

· Optimisation of the extraction of bioactive compounds (antioxidants) from persimmon leaves.

· Extration and characterisation of functional additives from waste generated in the industralisation and commercialisation of the fruit.

· Development of new and stable products from persimmon crops.

Bioethanol production from citrus surplus and waste

· Among all the steps involved in the bioethanol production process, the research has been focused on the enzymatic and/or chemical hydrolysis needed to break down the complex molecules of cellulose and hemicellulose to obtain fermentable sugars.

· It has been also investigated how to increase the concentration of soluble sugars in the hydrolyzate using different enzymes or applying treatments before the saccharification of the residue. These treatments involve microwave heating in alkaline medium or vacuum impregnation with aqueous solutions containing the enzyme.

Environmental management in the food industry

· Modelling and scaling-up of new processes based on the revalorization of solid waste and sewage in the food industry.

· Use of membranes for the treatment, management and recovery of effluents.

Enology and viticulture

· To increase wine quality via good practices in the field and appropiate methodologies and through the selection of clones of native grapes varieties.

· Development of wine from fermented orange juice.

· Optimisation of cava processing.