RG5: Health Function of Natural Bioactive Molecules

RG5 brings together different areas of expertise, contributing to achieve a higher knowledge on the promotion of health and disease prevention based on the identification of bioactive molecules in foods, their isolation from natural raw materials (foods, botanicals, agro-industry by-products) using green technologies and membrane processes, and the preparation of enriched extracts.

These bioactive natural molecules or extracts are formulated in order to reach their target or can be incorporated in innovative products as health promoting or antimicrobial agents. The beneficial health effects of these bioactive molecules and their cellular mechanisms are studied in age-related and chronic diseases, as cancer, diabetes, neurological and cardiovascular diseases are investigated on biomarkers using in vitro (chemical assays and cell models) and in vivo tools. Thus, RG5 essentially supports TL2: Cardio-Metabolic Disorders and TL3: Cancer.

State-of-the art analytical methodologies (LC, GC, MS, FTIR-ATR spectroscopy) using established in-house developed protocols or in collaboration with partners are used, as well as sensory evaluation and classical microbiology, molecular biology and bio-based assays. Membrane separation processes and membrane (bio) reactors are developed as techniques for on-line, real-time, in vivo and at molecular scale monitoring.

To explore new raw materials and molecules for different applications is a challenge for the group. Studies on gut microbiota effects, the isolation of probiotics from vegetable matrices, the detection of virus in foods as well as the implementation of new tools for food authenticity evaluation and rapid methods for food quality evaluation, will complement the competences of the group.

Keywords: Bioactives isolation, characteristics, formulation; Bioacessibility, bioavailability and mechanisms; Safety and quality of food and water

Latest Publications

Alexandre AMRC, Serra AT, Matias AA, Duarte CMM, Bronze MR (2020) Supercritical fluid extraction of Arbutus unedo distillate residues - Impact of process conditions on antiproliferative response of extracts. Journal of CO2 Utilization 37: 29-38.

Oliveira-Alves SC, Pereira RS, Pereira AB, Ferreira A, Mecha E, Silva AB, Serra AT, Bronze MR (2020) Identification of functional compounds in baru (Dipteryx alata Vog.) nuts: Nutritional value, volatile and phenolic composition, antioxidant activity and antiproliferative Effect. Food Research International 131: 109026

Cristóvão MB, Torrejais J, Janssens R, Luis P, Van der Bruggen B, Dubey KK, Mandal MK, Bronze MR, Crespo JG, Pereira VJ (2019) Treatment of anticancer drugs in hospital and wastewater effluents using nanofiltration. Separation and Purification Technology 224:273-280

Pereira CV, Duarte M, Silva P, Bento da Silva A, Duarte CMM, Cifuentes A, García-Cañas V, Bronze MR, Albuquerque C, Serra AT (2019) Polymethoxylated Flavones Target Cancer Stemness and Improve the Antiproliferative Effect of 5-Fluorouracil in a 3D Cell Model of Colorectal Cancer. Nutrients 11(2):326

Gil-Chávez GJ, Padhi SSP, Pereira CV, Guerreiro JN, Matias AA, Smirnova I (2019) Cytotoxicity and biological capacity of sulfur-free lignins obtained in novel biorefining process. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 136:697-703