Research Team / Research Group Name (if any)
920193-Research Group for development of advanced methodologies for food traceabilty, food microbiology and food safety (TRADETBIO)
Brief description of the Research Team / Research Group / Department
This is a consolidated group of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), that also belongs to the Moncloa Campus of International Excellence (UCM-UPM). The group consist of 3 full professors, 3 associate professors, and several pre- and postdoctoral researchers. The scientific production of the group includes more than 275 research papers in international journals (70% Q1), and 48 PhD Thesis (24 since 2004). The group has links with researchers in several institutions in Spain (UPM, INIA-CSIC, CIAL-CSIC and HRYC-IRYCIS, IATA-CSIC) and abroad (AFRC Institute of Food Research, Norwich and U. Nottingham (UK), Rutgers U.(USA), U. Groningen (Netherlands), U. Caen (France), UTAD (Portugal), BRI-NRC (Canada), IPK Gatersleben (Alemania), U. Alberta (Canada) and Norwegian U. of Life Sciences (Norway)). Research funding comes from the Spanish Government, Madrid regional government, UCM, and private contracts. <br />The research activities of the group currently focus on: 1) Development of immunological (monoclonal and recombinant antibodies) and genetic (real time PCR, MLPA) methods for identification and quantification of animal and plant species in food and feed; 2) Development of immunological and genetic methods for detection and quantification of food allergens; 3) Characterization and recombinant production of bacteriocins of food origin; 4) Evaluation of LAB as cell factories for production of bioactive peptides and 5) Use of bacteriocin producing LAB as probiotics for aquaculture
Research lines / projects proposed
Food allergy is a growing public health issue, affecting more than 17 million people in Europe, with the sharpest increase seen in children and young people. Under current regulations, any ingredient causing allergies or intolerances that is present in a food must be indicated in the label. Thus, there is a need for rapid, sensitive and reliable analytical methods that allow to verify food authenticity and improve food allergens management in the food industries.<br />Our research group has been pioneering (projects AGL2010-15279 and AGL2013-48018-R, AGL2017-84316-R, S2018/BAA-4574) the isolation of specific affinity probes against food allergens from phage display libraries expressing antibody fragments (scFv and dAb), and their use for detection of hidden allergens in food. This commitment is important because the scientific ethics tries to reduce the use of experimental animals. The objectives of this research are the production, characterization, and functional modification of recombinant antibodies (rAb) against different food allergens for being used in the development of rapid and simple immunochemical techniques that allow detection of these allergens in food. With these goals we intend to give an important boost to the current state of authenticity control and detection of allergens in food. We have obtained, characterized and modified rAb for detection of some tree nuts and gluten. However, there are many challenges to face, like the high number of potential food allergens to detect, the improvement of the assay sensivity, and the development of user-friendly analytical devices for being used by consumers and food industries, that will give the fellow opportunities to acquire a multidisciplinary training, and contacts with different research and industry partners.