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Maria Oruna-Concha

Maria Jose Oruna-Concha Staff Profile
  • Admissions Tutor (Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught)
  • Social Networking Coordinator.



Building location

Harry Nursten

Areas of interest

My research 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 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 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.

Academic qualifications

  • Pharmacy degree, University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), 1992
  • PhD, Food and Nutrition, University of Santiago de Compostela – Analytical Chemistry, Food and Nutrition Department.

Professional bodies/affiliations

  • Coeliac Society, UK
  • Spanish Pharmaceutical Society
  • Associate member of the British Society of Flavourists.