Tuesday 17 October 2017

Antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of encapsulated guava leaf oil in hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin

Industrial Crops and Products

The essential oil from guava leaves has low physicochemical stability and low solubility in water, what limits its application in food formulations. This study aimed to characterize the physicochemical properties and the antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of encapsulated guava leaf oil in hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPβCD). Inclusion complex formation of guava leaf oil and HPβCD was determined by several techniques. Antioxidant activity of encapsulated guava leaf oil was more stable to sunlight exposure than free guava leaf oil by 26–38%. The antibacterial activity of guava leaf oil against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli was improved by 4 and 2 times after encapsulation in HPβCD, respectively.

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Improved 1,3-propanediol production with maintained physical conditions and optimized media composition: Validation with statistical and neural approach

Biochemical Engineering Journal

This work is aimed at assessing the use of response surface methodology (RSM) and artificial neural networks (ANNs) for modelling, and predicting, the optimum parameters for 1,3-Propanediol production by Lactobacillus brevis N1E9.3.3 from glycerol and glucose co-fermentation. A preliminary study of physical parameters was conducted using Plackett-Burman design to reduce the number of input variables up to seven; i) beef extract, ii) yeast extract, iii) MgSO4·7H2O, iv) MnSO4·H2O, v) vitamin B12, vi) glycerol and vii) glucose. The traditional RSM models were improved by ANN models between a 54.08% and 12.19% in terms of root mean square error (RMSE). This study suggested that RSM and ANN can be considered as effective tools to model and predict optimum parameters for 1,3-Propanediol production by L. brevis N1E9.3.3.

Monday 25 September 2017

Dietary exposure and neurotoxicity of the environmental free and bound toxin β-N-methylamino-l-alanine

Food Research International, 100, 2017, Pages 1-13

The growing evidence supporting a link between exposure to the naturally occurring toxin β-N-methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA) and progressive neurodegenerative diseases, has recently arisen the interest of the scientific community. Latest investigations suggest that dietary exposure to this algal toxin may have been largely underestimated. This paper reviews the state of the art regarding BMAA, with special attention paid to its neurotoxicity, its concentration levels in food, and human exposure. As for other environmental toxins, dietary intake is most likely the main route of exposure to BMAA for the general population. However, data concerning BMAA levels in foodstuffs are still scarce. It is concluded that further investigations on dietary intake and potential human health effects are clearly necessary to assess the risks to public health associated with BMAA exposure. Some critical remarks and recommendations on future research in this area are provided, which may help to identify approaches to reduce dietary BMAA exposure.

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Chromatographic Fingerprinting with Multivariate Data Analysis for Detection and Quantification of Apricot Kernel in Almond Powder

Food Analytical Methods

Adulteration of almond powder samples with apricot kernel was solved by gas chromatographic fatty acid fingerprinting combined with multivariate data analysis methods (principal component analysis (PCA), PCA-linear discriminant analysis (PCA-LDA), partial least squares (PLS), and LS support vector machine (LS-SVM). Different almond and apricot kernel samples were mixed at concentrations ranging from 10 to 90% w/w. PCA and PCA-LDA methods were applied for the classification of almonds, apricot kernels, and mixtures. PLS and LS-SVM were used for the quantification of adulteration ratios of almond. Models were developed using a training data set and evaluated using a validation data set. The root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) and coefficient of determination (R2) of validation data set obtained for PLS and LS-SVM were 5.01, 0.964 and 2.29, 0.995, respectively. The results showed that the methods can be applied as an effective and feasible method for testing almond adulteration.

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Diseñando aceites de oliva “gourmet” en Galicia

Lección Inaugural
Curso 2017-2018


Pretendo exponer alguno de los principales resultados obtenidos por nuestro grupo a lo largo de varios años de investigación sobre la caracterización aromá- tica y fenólica de aceitunas y aceites de oliva producidos en Galicia, y –de esta manera- visualizar una de nuestras apuestas científicas, de gran interés y rele- vancia actual en Galicia. El objetivo último es contribuir a diseñar una estrategia que permita potenciar la puesta en el mercado de aceites de oliva “gourmet” con valor diferencial.

Monday 31 July 2017

Combination of food wastes for an efficient production of nisin in realkalized fed-batch cultures

Biochemical Engineering Journal

Nisin production by Lactococcus lactis CECT 539 was studied in four realkalized fed-batch cultures in diluted whey with feeding with lactose- and glucose-containing substrates. The first and third cultures were fed with mixtures of whey (W) and a 400 g/L concentrated glucose (CG), or with a concentrated mussel processing waste (CMPW) and CG, respectively.
The second and fourth cultures were respectively performed under the same conditions as in the first and third fermentations. However, these cultures were supplemented with mixtures of W plus a 2% (w/v) yeast extract (WYE2) and CG (second culture), or with CMPW plus a 2% (w/v) yeast extract (CMPWYE2) (fourth culture) after sample extractions at 132 and 168 h, respectively. From these times, each culture was fed with mixtures of WYE2 and CG, or CMPWYE2 and CG, respectively.
The final concentrations of nisin obtained in the third (223.98 BU/mL) and fourth (350.61 BU/mL) cultures, fed with glucose-containing substrates (CG and CMPW), were considerably higher than those obtained in the first (108.00 BU/mL) and second (158.53 BU/mL) cultures fed with the mixture of lactose- and glucose-containing substrates (W and CG).

Sunday 30 July 2017

High hydrostatic pressure as pretreatment and adjuvant for the enzymatic release of ferulic acid from corn cob

Process Biochemistry

Bioprocesses based on the use of enzymes can be employed for the obtainment of ferulic acid by its solubilization from corn cob, which is a natural source of this phenolic compound. In order to overcome the limitations caused by the recalcitrance of biomass, the application of pretreatments is advisable. The utilization of high hydrostatic pressure on the enzymatic release of ferulic acid from corn cob with three feruloyl esterase extracts was studied applying pressurization at 600 MPa as a pretreatment in combination with a mild thermal treatment at 130 °C/2 h. Additionally, pressurization at 200 MPa during the enzymatic hydrolysis step was assessed to increase the ferulic acid yield. The results showed that the application of a high pressure pretreatment at 600 MPa/40 °C/15 min to thermally treated corn cob increased by 20% the ferulic acid release in comparison with the thermal treatment for Ultraflo® L, but not for the Aspergillus extracts. Pressurization at 200 MPa during the hydrolysis stage affected differently the enzymes stability and ferulic acid release depending on the extract and the pretreatments applied, showing that the effects of pressurization are complex and must be assessed in each case.

Thursday 15 June 2017

A critical review on the applications of artificial neural networks in winemaking technology

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

Since their development in 1943, artificial neural networks were extended into applications in many fields. Last twenty years have brought their introduction into winery, where they were applied following four basic purposes: authenticity assurance systems, electronic sensory devices, production optimization methods, and artificial vision in image treatment tools, with successful and promising results. This work reviews the most significant approaches for neural networks in winemaking technologies with the aim of producing a clear and useful review document.

Friday 26 May 2017

Redispersion and Self-Assembly of C60 Fullerene in Water and Toluene

ACS Omega

This work aims at assessing the influence of two different solvents, bidistilled water and toluene, on dispersions of carbon-based engineered nanomaterials, namely, fullerenes, and their self-assembly behavior. The obtained self-assembled carbon-based materials were characterized using UV–vis spectrophotometry and transmission electron microscopy techniques. The results obtained were unexpected when toluene was used for dispersing fullerene C60, with the formation of two different types of self-assembled structures: fullerene C60 nanowhiskers (FNWs) and a type of quasispherical nanostructure. The FNWs ranged between 1 and 6 μm in length, whereas the quasispherical fullerene C60 nanoaggregates ranged between 10 and 50 nm in diameter. Aggregates obtained in toluene showed a well-formed crystal structure. When using water, the obtained aggregates were amorphous and showed a no well-defined shape. Their sizes ranged between 20 and 40 nm for nanosized structures and between 0.4 and 4.8 μm for micron-sized self-aggregates.

Monday 22 May 2017

Climate-induced changes in river water temperature in North Iberian Peninsula

Theor Appl Climatol 

This study evaluates the effects of climate change on the thermal regime of 12 rivers in the Northern Iberian Peninsula by using a non-linear regression model that employs air temperature as the only input variable. Prediction of future air temperature was obtained from five regional climate models (RCMs) under emission scenario Special Report on Emissions Scenarios A1B. Prior to simulation of water temperature, air temperature was bias-corrected (B-C) by means of variance scaling (VS) method. This procedure allows an improvement of fit between observed and estimated air temperature for all climate models. The simulation of water temperature for the period 1990–2100 shows an increasing trend, which is higher for the period of June-August (summer) and September-November (autumn) (0.0275 and 0.0281 °C/year) than that of winter (December-February) and spring (March-May) (0.0181 and 0.0218 °C/year). In the high air temperature range, daily water temperature is projected to increase on average by 2.2–3.1 °C for 2061–2090 relative to 1961–1990. During the coldest days, the increment of water temperature would range between 1.0 and 1.7 °C. In fact, employing the numbers of days that water temperature exceeded the upper incipient lethal temperature (UILT) for brown trout (24.7 °C) has been noted that this threshold is exceeded 14.5 days per year in 2061–2090 while in 1961–1990, this values was exceeded 2.6 days per year of mean and 3.6 days per year in observation period (2000–2014).

Monday 1 May 2017

Challenges in relating concentrations of aromas and tastes with flavor features of foods

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 

Flavor sensations in food are highly influenced by the aroma and taste compounds. Reviewing the extensive literature of recent years in this field has shown that the reconstitution of flavor based on aroma and taste compounds poses numerous problems. These are of different nature and include among others (a) chemical transformations among these compounds, (b) changes in the concentrations of the compounds responsible for the perceived flavor, (c) interactions among the chemical compounds that enhance or reduce a specific flavor sensation, and finally, (d) the complexity of the different food matrices and its influence in the flavor perception. Another difficulty that flavor scientists must face is how to properly model and visualize the complex relationships existing between the chemical composition of foods and the flavor perception. These problems have repercussions on the reconstitution of the flavor signature of food based on the natural concentrations of its key aroma and taste compounds. Therefore, the main aim of this review is to deal with all these issues to propose potential solutions for a robust transformation in a science-based quality approach.

Saturday 29 April 2017

Revisiting the Schönbein ozone measurement methodology

Geophysical Research Abstract

Trough the XIX century the Schönbein method gained a lot of popularity by its easy way to measure tropospheric ozone. Traditionally it has been considered that Schönbein measurements are not accurate enough to be useful. Detractors of this method argue that it is sensitive to meteorological conditions, being the most important the influence of relative humidity. As a consequence the data obtained by this method have usually been discarded. Here we revisit this method taking into account that values measured during the 19th century were taken using different measurement papers. We explore several concentrations of starch and potassium iodide, the basis for this measurement method. Our results are compared with the previous ones existing in the literature. The validity of the Schönbein methodology is discussed having into account humidity and other meteorological variables.

Friday 28 April 2017

Optimization of selective pressurized liquid extraction of organic pollutants in placenta to evaluate prenatal exposure

Journal of Chromatography A

The early exposure to organic pollutants (OPs) related to dietary habit or environmental exposure is a concern of growing interest in environmental health. When OPs enter the body, they can accumulate in fatty tissue and even travel through the bloodstream being able to cross the placenta and reach the fetus through the substance exchange between the mother and the child. Epidemiologic and clinical data affirm that these chemicals increase the risk of adverse effects during childhood. This article reviews and addresses one of the most relevant analytical methods for determining OPs in placenta. We discuss and critically evaluate procedures, such as solid-liquid and selective pressurized liquid extraction (SPLE). Clean-up of extracts was performed by solid-phase extraction (SPE) using EZ-POP cartridges. Detection of OPs was carried out by gas chromatography (GC) coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Recoveries ranged from 52% to 94% by SPLE with estimated quantification limits between 0.15 and 2.2 ng/g for organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), between 0.083 and 0.50 for organophosphate pesticides (OPPs), between 0.025 and 0.15 ng/g for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), between 0.015 and 0.10 ng/g for polybromodiphenyl ethers (PBDEs), between 0.33 and 0.66 ng/g for pyrethroids and between 0.022 and 0.87 ng/g for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Most of the target OPs were detected in twenty real placenta samples studied, with pyrethroids, PAHs and OPPs representing most of the 90% of OPs with means of 13–18 ng/g versus PCBs, OCPs, and PBDEs with means <4.0 ng/g. The rsults of this work indicate a prenatal exposure to OPs in Galicia.

Saturday 1 April 2017

Physico-chemical characterization and evaluation of bio-efficacies of black pepper essential oil encapsulated in hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin

Food Hydrocolloids

Encapsulation of essential oils with cyclodextrins can protect their active compounds from environmental conditions and improve their aqueous solubility, hence increasing their functional capabilities as additives. The purpose of this study was to characterize the physico-chemical properties and bio-efficacies, antioxidant and antibacterial activities, of the encapsulated black pepper essential oil in hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPβCD), in comparison with the major ingredient in the oil, β-caryophyllene. The difference in encapsulation efficiency of the pure compound and the black pepper oil results from the presence of other components in the black pepper oil such as limonene, δ-3-carene and pinene. Although the inclusion complexes increase their stability, they gave slightly lower antioxidant activity as a result of the HPβCD was blocking the functional groups of active compounds during reaction with DPPH radicals. Instead, after encapsulated in HPβCD, the antibacterial activity of black pepper oil was improved by 4 times against both S. aureus and E. coli.

Monday 20 March 2017

State of the Art on Functional Virgin Olive Oils Enriched with Bioactive Compounds and Their Properties

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(3), 668. 

 Virgin olive oil, the main fat of the Mediterranean diet, is per se considered as a functional food—as stated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)—due to its content in healthy compounds. The daily intake of endogenous bioactive phenolics from virgin olive oil is variable due to the influence of multiple agronomic and technological factors. Thus, a good strategy to ensure an optimal intake of polyphenols through habitual diet would be to produce enriched virgin olive oil with well-known bioactive polyphenols. Different sources of natural biological active substances can be potentially used to enrich virgin olive oil (e.g., raw materials derived from the same olive tree, mainly olive leaves and pomaces, and/or other compounds from plants and vegetables, mainly herbs and spices). The development of these functional olive oils may help in prevention of chronic diseases (such as cardiovascular diseases, immune frailty, ageing disorders and degenerative diseases) and improving the quality of life for many consumers reducing health care costs. In the present review, the most relevant scientific information related to the development of enriched virgin olive oil and their positive human health effects has been collected and discussed.

Friday 17 March 2017

A Critical Review of Bioactive Food Components, and of their Functional Mechanisms, Biological Effects and Health Outcomes.

Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(19):2731-2741

Eating behaviours are closely related to some medical conditions potentially leading to death such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Healthy eating practices, maintaining a normal weight, and regular physical activity could prevent up to 80% of coronary heart disease, 90% of type-2 diabetes and onethird of all cancers.

Over the last two decades, the food industry has invested much effort in research and development of healthier, more nutritious foods. These foods are frequently designated "functional" when they contain nutritional components required for healthy living or "nutraceuticals" when intended to treat or prevent disease or disorders through a variety of bioactive (e.g., antioxidant, antimicrobial, immunomodulatory, hypocholesterolaemic) functions that are performed by functional enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, fibres, phytosterols, peptides, proteins, isoflavones, saponins or phytic acid, among other substances.

Some agricultural and industrial residues have proven to be excellent choices as raw materials for producing bioactive compounds and have been proposed as potentially safe natural sources of antimicrobials and/or antioxidants for the food industry. Functional food ingredients containing bioactive compounds could be used as plant extracts by pharmaceutical and food industries.

Bioactive food components influence health outcomes.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Perspective on pre- and post-natal agro-food exposure to persistent organic pollutants and their effects on quality of life

Environment International


Adipose tissue constitutes a continual source of internal exposure to organic pollutants (OPs). When fats mobilize during pregnancy and breastfeeding, OPs could affect foetal and neonatal development, respectively.

Scope and approach

The main aim of this review is to deal with pre- and post-natal external exposure to organic pollutants and their effects on health, proposing prevention measures to reduce their risk. The goal is the development of a biomonitoring framework program to estimate their impact on human health, and prevent exposure by recommending some changes in personal lifestyle habits.

Key findings and conclusions

It has been shown that new studies should be developed taking into account their cumulative effect and the factors affecting their body burden. In conclusion, several programs should continuously be developed by different health agencies to have a better understanding of the effect of these substances and to develop a unified public policy.

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Approach of Different Properties of Alkylammonium Surfactants using Artificial Intelligence and Response Surface Methodology

Tenside, Surfactants and Detergents

Response surface methodology (RSM) and artificial neural networks (ANNs) architectures to predict the density, speed of sound, kinematic viscosity, and surface tension of aqueous solutions were developed. All models implemented using the root mean square error (RMSE) for training and validation phase were evaluated. The ANN models implemented show good values of R2 (upper than 0.974) and low errors in terms of average percentage deviation (APD) (lower than 2.92 %). Nevertheless, RSM models present low APD values for density and speed of sound prediction (lower than 0.31 %) and higher APD values around 5.18 % for kinematic viscosity and 14.73 % for surface tension. The results show that the different individual artificial neural networks implemented are a useful tool to predict the density, speed of sound, kinematic viscosity, and surface tension with reasonably accuracy.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Encapsulation of yarrow essential oil in hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin: physiochemical characterization and evaluation of bio-efficacies

CyTA - Journal of Food

Essential oil from yarrow (Achillea millefolium L. s. l.) has a broad spectrum of pharmacological activities. However, active chemical components of yarrow oil are sensitive to environmental factors such as, light, oxygen and temperature. Encapsulation of essential oil offers solutions for the limitation. Yarrow oil was encapsulated in hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPβCD) through freeze-drying technique with encapsulation efficiency of 45%. Inclusion complex formation was examined by scanning electron microscope, Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy and UV–vis analysis and phase solubility study. Yarrow oil gave strong antioxidant activity of 72% DPPH scavenging at 50 μg/mL. HPβCD could protect active compounds of essential oil and retained antioxidant activity after sunlight exposure. Yarrow oil also exhibited antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli with the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of 250 μg/mL and 500 μg/mL, respectively. The antibacterial efficacy was much improved after encapsulation against both S. aureus and E. coli with the MIC value of 62.5 μg/mL.

Friday 10 February 2017

Vine Trimming Shoots as Substrate for Ferulic Acid Esterases Production

Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Ferulic acid esterases (FAE) possess a large variety of biotechnological applications mainly based on their ability to release ferulic acid from lignocellulosic matrixes. The use of vine trimming shoots (VTS), an agricultural waste, as substrate for the generation of this kind of esterases represents an attractive alternative to change the consideration of VTS from residue to resource. Furthermore, xylanase, cellobiase, and cellulase activities were quantified. Six microorganisms were screened for FAE production by solid-state fermentation, and the effects of the additional supplementation and substrate size were also tested. Finally, the process was scaled-up to a horizontal bioreactor where the influence of aeration in enzymatic activities was evaluated. Thus, the optimal FAE activity (0.44 U/g dry VTS) was attained by Aspergillus terreus CECT 2808, in non-additional supplementation media, using the larger particles size of substrate (≤ 5 mm) and at a flow rate of 0.7 L/min.

Thursday 2 February 2017

A Critical Review of the Characterization of Polyphenol-Protein Interactions and of Their Potential Use for Improving Food Quality.

Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(19):2742-2753. 

Interest in protein-phenol interactions in biological systems has grown substantially in recent decades.

The interest has focused largely on food systems in response to reports on the prominent roles of phenolic compounds in nutrition and health.

Phenolic compounds can have both favourable and adverse nutritional effects. Polyphenols are widely known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antiaging properties; however, they have also been ascribed anti-nutritional effects resulting from interactions with some proteins and enzymes. Interactions between proteins and polyphenols can additionally influence food quality by altering some physical-chemical and sensory properties of foods. These effects may be useful to develop new products in food science and technology provided the nature of physical-chemical interactions between proteins and phenols is accurately elucidated. In this paper, we review the different possible modes of interaction between selected food proteins and phenolic compounds.

Existing knowledge on the mechanisms behind polyphenol-protein reactions, the structures of the resulting products and their potential uses is reviewed.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Effects of hydrochemistry variables on the half-life of mancozeb and on the hazard index associated to the sum of mancozeb and ethylenethiourea

Environmental Research, 154, 2017, 253-260

Mancozeb is a dithiocarbamate non-systemic agricultural fungicide with multi-site, protective action. It helps to control many fungal diseases in a wide range of field crops, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and ornamental plants. We have investigated the stability profiles of mancozeb in aqueous solutions to determine the effect of pH, temperature and light on the degradation process of mancozeb. In addition, the toxicological risk for humans associated with the joint intake of mancoze7b and its final degradation product, ethylenethiourea (ETU), was calculated and modelled as a function of the experimental conditions. Stability study results showed a very low stability profile of mancozeb in all the aqueous solutions with rapid degradation that varied with experimental conditions. The process followed first order kinetics. The study of the degradation kinetics showed a significant effect of pH*temperature interaction on the degradation process. The results also expressed that light has a greater impact on the stability of mancozeb and the formation of ETU. The current study concludes that mancozeb is unstable in aqueous solutions, particularly at an acid pH, in addition to presenting both severe light and lower temperature sensitivity. The toxicological risk associated with mancozeb degradation increases with time and temperature, being higher at basic pH and in absence of light.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Determination of kinetic bioconcentration in mussels after short term exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


The kinetic bioconcentration of N-heterocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) after short waterborne exposure was studied. Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), its analogue azaarene 10-azabenzo[a]pyrene (AzaBaP), and their mixture (Mix), were selected to monitor the changes in water concentrations over three days. Decay of both PAHs concentrations in water after 24 h of waterborne exposure to mussels at levels of 10 and 100 μg/L follows a first order kinetic with half-lives of 4–5 h, with residual levels of PAHs below 7%. While steady-state scenarios are well studied, there is a lack of information of what happens under non-steady-state conditions, the main purpose of our paper. A synergistic bioconcentration of the mixture was found (around 800 in the mix vs. around 400 for individual PAHs at 100 μg/L of waterborne exposure). It could be explained by the following reasons. The most polar AzaBaP does not compete with the most non-polar BaP for the same tissue compartments. Whereas BaP aggregate in hydrophobic areas, AzaBaP can also do in hydrophilic areas. Moreover, a chance for complex formation between them by charge-transfer stabilization mechanisms could make possible a higher bioaccumulation as a mixture. Instead, toxicological results suggest an additive behaviour in the mixture performance, dominated by BaP, which is the key PAH controlling phase I metabolization in mussels, since is approx. three times more toxic. These experiments provide useful indications for a rapid assessment of PAHs kinetic bioconcentration in mussels.