Food Studies

Group Coordinator: Maria Margarida Vieira / E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Activities pursued
1. Postharvest of Mediterranean Horticultural Commodities.

Work on the use of edible coatings enriched on essential oils application on fresh and fresh–cut produce, has been done for small fruit and fresh-cut apple. Still in progress for other fruits. Work on the use of Arbutus unedo fresh fruit and Opuntia ficus-indica is in progress. Work on innovative use of edible nano-coatings to delay ripening and prevent chilling injuries in susceptible fruits is in progress.

2.  Food Preservation Emerging Technologies

Studies on Biodegradability assessment of the Lupin (Lupinus angustifolius) protein isolated films are carried out. The end life of the packaging films is tested by composting. So far a biodegradable lupine isolate protein-based film was developed as well as a carbohydrate (chitosan) film with incorporation of microcapsules of chitosan with active compounds. Studies on extraction of active compounds from olive leaves and pomace using combined emergent technologies were carried out. Experiments with chitosan films with nanocapsules are being performed. Development of a formulation with microencapsulated dried Opuntia ficus-indica pulp for a fruit juice was carried out.

3. Innovation in Food Products of Mediterranean Origin

This line has progressed through the study of the effect of different degrees of fruit ripeness (green and mature) and brines on the microbiological, nutritional and organoleptic characteristics of the table olives of the Cobrançosa cultivar. The effect of partial replacement of NaCl with KCl on the physicochemical, and sensorial profiles of Cobrançosa Table olives and the microbiological aspects are being studied. The characterization of the current (traditional) production processes of Maçanillha, Galega and Cobrançosa, as well as the detection of their limitations, is in progress.