Staff Profile:Dr Maria Jose Oruna-Concha

Position / Job Title:
Lecturer in Food Chemistry
  • Undergraduate Admissions Tutor
  • Food and Nutritional Sciences Web manager
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Areas of Interest:

My research interest is focused on the investigation of low molecular weight non-volatile water soluble compounds (i.e. amino acids, small peptides, sugars, ribonucleotides, organic acids) and their relationship with flavour formation (via Maillard reaction) as well as their taste properties (such as "umami"). Some of the food products I have been working with include vegetables (melons, potatoes and tomatoes), fish, meat, meat products as well as wine products. These research projects have been sponsored by major food companies.

I am also interested in polyphenols, their formation, characterization and changes due to ripening and processing (i.e. date palm fruit, brassica sp., coffee, cocoa, tea, berries, olive oil). More recent work includes the study of the influence of cocoa (coffee and tea) processing techniques on flavanol availability looking at Maillard chemistry and their impact on flavanol bioavailability and health benefits. This project was sponsored by BBSRC and DRINC (Diet and Health Research Industry Club), 2008-2011.

I am also interested in acrylamide, a potential carcinogen that it occurs mainly in potato and cereal based foods subjected to high temperature processing, such as baking and frying. As such, I have carried out kinetic studies to reduce the formation of acrylamide in model systems under simulating baking conditions for a major food company.

Future research area: applications for proteins and carbohydrates originating from fish waste and the characterization of protein-dextrin complexes that could be obtained via de Maillard reaction to ultimately validate their feasibility to be used as additives in food stuffs.

Capillary Electrophoresis (CE) and state-of-the-art GC-MS, LC and LC-MS are the main analytical techniques used to the success of my research work.

Research groups / Centres:
Maria Oruna-Concha

Contact Details

+44 (0)118 378 5364
Food & Nutritional Sciences 2-16

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