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Teresa Crespo

Head of Area

Food & Health Division
Food Safety - Microbiology

+ 351 21 446 9 551 / 784

Explore Innovation

Explore Innovation

Food quality is a paramount priority in the world. At iBET, we aim to tackle the challenges of food quality in terms of prevention of health problems associated with food contamination, allergies, fraud or poor nutritional content

Food quality, in the scope of the work at iBET, is a kaleidoscope of subjects that include chemical and microbiological safety, sensorial quality, food integrity and authenticity and nutritional and bioactive richness

Food quality is a paramount priority in the world. The new developments in food industry, the globalization of markets, the modern nutritional trends (consumption of fresh and raw food, ready to eat meals dry products, exotic ingredients), the large scale food production, all lead to new challenges in terms of prevention of health problems associated with food contamination, allergies, fraud or poor nutritional content.

Chemical and Microbiological Safety

At iBET, the research on the evaluation of food safety is dedicated to the evaluation of risks associated with the presence of microbial and chemical contaminants, the production and marketing conditions that can condition their presence, as well as being alert to the emerging risks. The analytical methodologies  used are an assemblage of omics methodologies, tending to the concept of foodomics, like the use of genomic, metabolomics, or proteomics. Examples of the techniques used are based on i) genomic methods – PCR/qPCR – second and third generation sequencing – FISH, PFGE; and ii) a Mass Spectrometry platform dedicated to a large number of different molecules (from small molecules until big molecules as proteins).

Sensory Quality

At iBET we know that sensory characteristics of a food product are essential for their acceptance by consumers and the detection of off-flavors may give clues about their origin and help to prevent their occurrence. The combination of analytical tools and sensory evaluation is performed in research projects related to food quality.

The iBET team working on this has also expertise on the selection, training and monitoring of sensory panels  in order to support companies in product certification.

Food Integrity and Authenticity

Providing assurance to consumers and other stakeholders about the integrity of commodities is of prime importance in adding value to the national economy while building trust and confidence.

New methodologies to assess the geographical and botanical origin of edible plants, to detect intentional and non-intentional adulteration, namely aromatic, medicinal, and condiment plants (AMCPs) is another food quality area. Due to their direct (fresh, dried, and prepared) or indirect (as raw material for the extraction of high-value compounds) use, they have a big cross sector effect impacting the pharma, cosmetic, and agri-food industries. These methodologies will include DNA barcoding and metabarcoding using a high throughput sequencing technologies. The same concept can be applied to other products and by the use of other methodologies.

Nutritional and Bioactives Composition

At iBET we have implemented different methodologies that can help you to evaluate the nutritional and bioactives composition of food products. Also the effect of adding a natural bioactive compound can be evaluated enabling the assessment of the health benefits of the new ingredient in the food or its use as a supplement.

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