UB Expertise

Functional food: Nutraceuticals


TERPMED, a 7FP-UE project, was led by the Plant Terpenoid Biosynthesis group of the University of Barcelona. The group has a great expertise in terpenoid secondary metabolism, metabolomic techniques, and innovative platforms for the synthesis of plant metabolites: Plant biofactories.

PREDIMED (2003-2012) is the most comprehensive nutritional study ever conducted in Spain on the effects of the Mediterranean diet in the prevention of chronic diseases. More than 30 researchers from the University of Barcelona were involved in this project, where they acquired an expertise that can be made available to new and even more ambitious projects.

Chrononutrition – Recent studies have demonstrated a relationship between obesity and the regulation of the circadian rhythm. A study on how the modulation of the circadian system can lead to, or help prevent, obesity is being carried out at the faculty of Pharmacy.

Data analysis for multiple comparisons is a very powerful tool for the design and synthesis of functional molecules. The department of Statistics has a great expertise in the analysis of the nutritional properties of different diets, breast milk, the detection of drug residues in environmental samples, and food quality.

The Integrative Systems Biology group has developed and patented several plant extracts with potential therapeutic properties, thus promoting the valorization of food residues.

The production of healthier meat is possible if nutritional supplements are added to animal feeds. Researchers are experimenting with fish and poultry feed mixes in order to achieve this.


  • Changes in profile and amount of vitamins and antioxidants in plants.
  • Increased vegetal resistance to stress and control of cultures using hormones.
  • Determination and optimization of metabolite production pathways.
  • Obtaining new plant varieties with phenotypes of interest by TILLING selection methods.
  • Feed supplementation with fat and other components to improve meat quality.
  • Characterization, isolation, and cultures of probiotic strains of microorganisms.
  • Identification, isolation, and cultivation of edible fungi.
  • Aquaculture feed supplementation for better nutritional quality.
  • Cellular models as tools for screening new active ingredients.
  • Bioactive components of breast milk suitable for dietary supplementation.


  • Chemical composition and nutritional value of all kinds of foodstuffs and samples.
  • Assessment of the antioxidant, antitumour and / or antiobesity potential of metabolites and foodstuffs.
  • Highly sensitive and accurate metabolic analysis.
  • In vitro models for the study of the intestinal function: absorption, immune response, and toxicity.
  • Animal models for the study of the intestinal function: inflammation, allergy and gastrointestinal infection.
  • Mouse models with metabolic syndrome.
  • Study of intestinal permeability and incorporation into the bloodstream of food components.
  • Nutrigenomics: study of the interaction between food and genes for disease prevention.
  • Analysis of the effectiveness and intestinal response to new probiotic strains, and design of strategies for improvement.
  • Determination of the composition of the microbiota using FISH-FC.
  • Bioinformatic comparison of the microbiota between healthy and sick subjects.
  • Study of the activity of functional ingredients in gut immune maturation.
  • Design and implementation of ad hoc clinical trials for the assessment of the antiobesity potential of new foodstuffs.
  • Development of software for the analysis of biomedical and clinical data.


  • Plant biofactories: Production of metabolites of interest in plants.
  • Increased soil fertility and integrated management of organic farming.
  • Monitoring of crops using sensors.
  • Optimization of the substrate and advanced techniques for growing fungi.
  • Biological emulsifiers and surfactants with an accelerated degradation rate.
  • Production and isolation of nonrecombining enzyme additives.
  • Techniques of extraction and isolation of natural products from plant extracts and fermentation broths.
  • Chemical synthesis of bioactive compounds.
  • Encapsulation and controlled release systems for active ingredients.
  • Development and improvement of formulations.
  • Advanced technology and industrial scale production of drugs.


  • Analysis and traceability of pathogenic microorganisms.
  • Microchips and electronic systems for the detection of pathogenic microorganisms and their indicators.
  • Development of new antimicrobial systems.
  • Safety, efficacy, and toxicological risk assessments for regulatory dossiers.
  • Confidential deposit of cell lines.
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