Monday 28 September 2020

Edible flowers as functional raw materials: A review on anti-aging properties

 Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2020, 106, 30-47


Diet is a major determinant of aging and lifespan. Development and utilization of food resources with potential anti-aging activity have attracted increasing attention from researchers. Because of their peculiar flavour, aroma and colour, as well as enriched nutrients and phytochemicals, edible flowers have emerged as a new trend for human nutrition. More importantly, a growing body of evidence suggests flowers have potential effects against aging. However, these properties have yet to be systematically understood.

Scope and approach
In this review, we used comprehensive literature retrieval to summarize the major aspects of edible flowers’ anti-aging properties, including effects, active components, and applications. Relevant research articles published in English with no restrictions on publication date have been considered.

Key findings and conclusions
This review found evidence that edible flowers are promising raw materials for prevention or amelioration of skin aging, immunosenescence, neurodegeneration, and even extension of lifespan. Active ingredients in these flowers, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoids, phenylethanoid glycosides, polysaccharides, etc. may function through the inhibition of oxidative stress, inflammation, apoptosis and regulation of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IIS) pathway. In addition to their use in traditional food and medicine, some flower extracts or main components have been developed for health care food or skin care products. These findings suggest that despite the partial restriction of harvest, storage and safety, edible flowers are worthy of further investigation to promote healthy aging.

Friday 25 September 2020

Macroalgae as a Source of Valuable Antimicrobial Compounds: Extraction and Applications

 Antibiotics 2020, 9(10), 642


In the last few decades, attention on new natural antimicrobial compounds has arisen due to a change in consumer preferences and the increase in the number of resistant microorganisms. Macroalgae play a special role in the pursuit of new active molecules as they have been traditionally consumed and are known for their chemical and nutritional composition and their biological properties, including antimicrobial activity. Among the bioactive molecules of algae, proteins and peptides, polysaccharides, polyphenols, polyunsaturated fatty acids and pigments can be highlighted. However, for the complete obtaining and incorporation of these molecules, it is essential to achieve easy, profitable and sustainable recovery of these compounds. For this purpose, novel liquid–liquid and solid–liquid extraction techniques have been studied, such as supercritical, ultrasound, microwave, enzymatic, high pressure, accelerated solvent and intensity pulsed electric fields extraction techniques. Moreover, different applications have been proposed for these compounds, such as preservatives in the food or cosmetic industries, as antibiotics in the pharmaceutical industry, as antibiofilm, antifouling, coating in active packaging, prebiotics or in nanoparticles. This review presents the main antimicrobial potential of macroalgae, their specific bioactive compounds and novel green extraction technologies to efficiently extract them, with emphasis on the antibacterial and antifungal data and their applications.

Saturday 19 September 2020

Use of Spectroscopic Techniques to Monitor Changes in Food Quality during Application of Natural Preservatives: A Review

 Antioxidants 2020, 9(9), 882


Consumer demand for food of high quality has driven research for alternative methods of food preservation on the one hand, and the development of new and rapid quality assessment techniques on the other hand. Recently, there has been a growing need and interest in healthier food products, which has led to an increased interest in natural preservatives, such as essential oils, plant extracts, and edible films and coatings. Several studies have shown the potential of using biopreservation, natural antimicrobials, and antioxidant agents in place of other processing and preservation techniques (e.g., thermal and non-thermal treatments, freezing, or synthetic chemicals). Changes in food quality induced by the application of natural preservatives have been commonly evaluated using a range of traditional methods, including microbiology, sensory, and physicochemical measurements. Several spectroscopic techniques have been proposed as promising alternatives to the traditional time-consuming and destructive methods. This review will provide an overview of recent studies and highlight the potential of spectroscopic techniques to evaluate quality changes in food products following the application of natural preservatives.

Friday 18 September 2020

Valorization of by-products from olive oil industry and added-value applications for innovative functional foods

 Food Research International, 2020, 137, 109683


In the last years, the consumption of olive oil has experienced a sharp rise due to its organoleptic and healthy properties and with this the wastes and by-products derived from the olive production and the olive oil industry have also increased causing important environmental and economic issues. However, the high content in bioactive compounds of these wastes and by-products makes that its recovery is both a great challenge and an excellent opportunity for the olive oil sector.

Aim of the review
This review encompasses the more outstanding aspects related to the advances achieved until date in the olive oil by-products valorisation and added-value applications for innovative functional foods.

Taking into account the information reported in this manuscript, the development of a multiproduct biorefinery in cascade using eco-friendly technologies interchangable seems a suitable stratety to obtaining high added value compounds from olive oil by-products with applications in the field of innovative functional foods. In addition, this would allow an integral valorization of these residues enhancing the profitability of the olive oil industry. On the other hand, the biocompounds fom olive oil by-products have been described by their interesting bioactivities with beneficial properties for the consumers’ health; therefore, their incorporation into the formulation of functional foods opens new possibilities in the field of innovative foods.

Future perspective
Despite the studies descibed in the literature, more research on the healthy properties of the recovered compounds and their interactions with food components is key to allow their reintegration in the food chain and therefore, the removal of the olive oil by-products.

Thursday 17 September 2020

Non-invasive biomonitoring of organic pollutants using feather samples in feral pigeons (Columba livia domestica)

 Environmental Pollution, 2020, 267, 115672


A large portion of organic pollutants (OPs) represent a potential hazard to humans and living beings due to their toxic properties. For several years, birds have been used as biomonitor species of environmental pollution. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs), organophosphate pesticides (OPPs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and pyrethroids (PYRs) were assessed in body feather samples of 71 feral pigeons (Columba livia domestica) collected from Asturias and Galicia (NW Spain). The percentage of detection for all chemical groups were above 90% in studied birds. The general pattern was dominated by PAHs (mean value ± standard deviation (SD) 32 ± 15 ng/g) followed by OCPs (3.8 ± 1.1 ng/g), PYRs (3.4 ± 3.8 ng/g), PCBs (1.6 ± 1.0 ng/g), OPPs (1.3 ± 0.70 ng/g) and PBDEs (0.80 ± 0.30 ng/g). Significant differences were observed between age, location and gender suggesting different sources of exposure and accumulation pathways.

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Value-Added Compound Recovery from Invasive Forest for Biofunctional Applications: Eucalyptus Species as a Case Study

 Molecules 2020, 25(18), 4227

From ancient times, the medicinal properties of the different Eucalyptus species are well known. In fact, plants from this family have been used in folk medicine as antiseptics, and to treat different ailments of the upper respiratory tract such as sinus congestion, common cold, or influenza. Moreover, other biological activities were described for Eucalyptus species such as antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. In the last few decades, numerous investigations revealed that the compounds responsible for these properties are secondary metabolites that belonging to the group of phenolic compounds and are present in different parts of the plants such as leaves, bark, wood, fruits, and stumps. The increasing demand for natural compounds that can substitute synthetic antioxidants and the increase in resistance to traditional antibiotics have boosted the intense search for renewable natural sources containing substances with such bioactivities, as well as greener extraction technologies and avant-garde analytical methods for the identification of the target molecules. The literature data used in this paper were collected via Scopus (2001–2020) using the following search terms: Eucalyptus, extraction methods, phenolic compounds, and biological activities. This review collects the main studies related to the recovery of value-added compounds from different Eucalyptus species, as well as their biofunctional applications.

Thursday 3 September 2020

Biological Evaluation, DFT Calculations and Molecular Docking Studies on the Antidepressant and Cytotoxicity Activities of Cycas pectinata Buch.-Ham. Compounds

 Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(9), 232

Cycas pectinata Buch.-Ham. is commonly used in folk medicine against various disorders. The present study investigated the antidepressant and cytotoxicity activity of methanol extract of C. pectinata (MECP) along with quantitative phytochemical analysis by GC-MS method. Here, the GC-MS study of MECP presented 41 compounds, among which most were fatty acids, esters, terpenoids and oximes. The antidepressant activity was assessed by the forced swimming test (FST) and tail suspension test (TST) models. In contrast, MECP (200 and 400 mg/kg) exhibited a significant and dose-dependent manner reduction in immobility comparable with fluoxetine (10 mg/kg) and phenelzine (20 mg/kg). MECP showed a weak toxicity level in the brine shrimp lethality bioassay (ED50: 358.65 µg/mL) comparable to the standard drug vincristine sulfate (ED50: 2.39 µg/mL). Three compounds from the GC-MS study were subjected to density functional theory (DFT) calculations, where only cyclopentadecanone oxime showed positive and negative active binding sites. Cyclopentadecanone oxime also showed a good binding interaction in suppressing depression disorders by blocking monoamine oxidase and serotonin receptors with better pharmacokinetic and toxicological properties. Overall, the MECP exhibited a significant antidepressant activity with moderate toxicity, which required further advance studies to identify the mechanism.

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Special Issue about the “Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Agriculture”


For the past few years, the increasing world population has given place to an increase in the demand for food products.

A large number of variables (agronomic, climatic, political, economic, etc.) can influence on agricultural production. All these features give rise to a large database that can be used to develop tools aimed at improving the management practices, production, harvesting, processing, conservation, selling and subsequent waste treatment that could solve the future challenges related to the climate variation, proliferation of diseases, crops improve and supply.

These tools, from the simplest (regression) to the most complex (neural networks, vector support machines, among others) allow to expand the existing knowledge to the entire agricultural process (from cradle to cradle).

The aim of this Special Issue about the “Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Agriculture” is to collect the most recent research using any kind of AI model related (but not limited) to: machine learning, remote sensing, machine vision, modelling, prediction, optimization, decision support, food authenticity, big data, blockchain, etc.

You are welcome to send research articles, reviews, communications and concept papers. Manuscripts should be submitted online at


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine learning
  • Deep learning
  • Image Analysis/Processing
  • Computer Vision
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Big Data/Cloud Computing
  • Remote Sensing
  • Modelling/Prediction/Optimization
  • Decision support

Tuesday 1 September 2020

Jesús Simal, Académico de Número en la Real Academia de Farmacia de Galicia


El coordinador del grupo AA1, Jesús Simal Gándara, entrará a formar parte de la Real Academia de Farmacia de Galicia, RAFG, como miembro numerario. Centrará su discurso en la sostenibilidad del sistema de producción y consumo de alimentos -La ceremonia, pendiente del Covid-19.