Nutrition and health

 Improvement of the nutritional and health profile of bakery products

Lead researcher: Dr. Alberto Edel León

We seek to obtain breads, crackers, cookies and pasta out of ingredients that improve their health profile, and to study the effects of formulation modifications on the technological, nutritional and sensory quality.

The aim is to build knowledge related to the physical, chemical rheological and sensory principles that account for the changes produced in the quality of foods as a consequence of modifications in their formulation.

This line of research focuses on the reduction of sodium content in bread, low glycaemic index, incorporation of ingredients with a high antioxidant capacity and rich in soluble fiber, fat replacement in cookies and crackers, incorporation of omega-3 acids in pasta and regular and gluten-free bakery products.

Variability assessment of grain composition, including wheat, maize, sorghum, triticale and other non-traditional cultivar genotypes, for food formulation

Lead researcher: Dr. Gabriela Pérez

Variability assessment of grain composition, including wheat, maize, sorghum, triticale and other non-traditional cultivar genotypes, for food formulation.
The aim is to study the composition and physico-chemical properties of Andean cereals and crops and to evaluate their capacity to produce bakery products.
We seek to associate the technological and nutritional quality of products with the properties of flours derived from each variety or genotype, and to determine how the environment affects their composition.
This information allows for the prediction of the behavior during processing and the selection of the most adequate genotypes or varieties for each product. Concerning the physical and chemical characterization, we evaluate the main components of the grain (starch, proteins, lipids), as well as other bioactive components that may be relevant from the nutritional point of view (minerals, arabinoxylans, polyphenols).

Prebiotics and microbioma

Health benefits of cereals and root vegetables. Addition of lactic bacteria into foods

Lead researcher: Emiliano Salvucci

We seek to assess the prebiotic potential, the technological properties and the effect on the microbiome in murine models of cereal and root vegetable extracts. We attempt to build a deeper knowledge of the close relationship between diet and microbiome and the decisive role of this relationship in the evolution of a variety of diseases associated with microbiota disorders. We also seek to select and characterize lactic bacteria derived from cereals to obtain sourdough and bakery products with increased added value. We study the impact of various food components considered to be prebiotic (FOS, inulin, arabinoxylans) on the gut microbiome and overall health condition. Many diseases correlate with an imbalance of intestinal microorganisms. Thus, we explore how these prebiotics modify gut bacteria in vitro and in vivo assays. The prospective application of the resulting findings is to use the components of these foods to reverse symptoms or the progression of disease.

Contributions to circular economy: formulation and evaluation of functional foods with bioactive compounds derived from food industry by-products

The nutritional composition of food is fundamental, as the preference for products that are nutritious and contribute specific functions to reduce the risk of diseases has increased the popularity of functional foods all over the world. These types of foods seek to improve nutritional quality through functional ingredients. They are often obtained from processed food to reduce contamination. Some of the functional ingredients include polyphenols, which stand out for their health benefits.

The expansion of functional foods calls for the development of methods to determine the presence and stability of such components across the production chain and raise the real benefits for health.

Thus, the objective of this research line is to contribute to the production of new functional foods with bioactive compounds which people can easily find. This includes the effective reuse of food industry by-products, thus promoting the concept of circular economy and public health improvement. To this end, the project introduces a many-sided and multi-disciplinary approach which involves: (a) analysis of the qualitative and quantitative profile of bioactive compounds in raw materials and processed foods, which produce the chemoprotective reaction in biological systems; (b) checking the stability of these bioactive compounds which are incorporated into functional foods (as such, or chemically modified), assessing its bioavailability through an in vitro digestion model; (c) studying the biochemical and chemical mechanisms involved in bioactivity, for which computational studies and experimental models based on cell lines and animal models are used. Metabolomic techniques are used as supporting strategies to determine these action mechanisms.

Lead researcher: Dr. Verónica Baroni

Team researchers:

Dr. Natividad Herrera Cano

Dr. Eugenia Sabatino

Dr. Natalia Pigni

Dr. Agustin Lucini Mas

Scholarship holders:

Lic. Renata Bence

Lic. Alejandra Bustamante Brizuela

Biol. Mauricio Salgado

 See the main scientific publications on this topic