Biochemistry of Meat and Meat Products

Food Science

Biochemistry of Meat and Meat Products

iata - Bioquímica de la Carne y Productos Cárnicos


The group is placed into the Food Biochemistry field, mainly in the study of meat and meat-derived products. This includes the study of the biochemical reactions responsible for the transformation of muscle into meat and meat products. From this perspective, the group is working in the development of new techniques dealing with meat enzymology, together with the identification and characterization of proteins and peptides coming from different farm animals that are frequently employed in the food industry. This includes the use of different and complementary techniques such as liquid chromatography, immunochemistry, gel electrophoresis, isoelectric focusing and enzyme reactions, together with high throughput technologies such as mass spectrometry applied to Proteomics, Peptidomics and Metabolomics.


The group has as main objective to deepen in the knowledge of the complex biochemical processes that take place in post-mortem muscle after animal slaughter, which are responsible of both the transformation of muscle into meat / derived meat products and the development of their organoleptic, nutritive and functional properties. From this global objective, the group outlines the following specific objectives: - Use and implementation of high throughput Omic technologies as a way to characterize both proteins conforming skeletal muscle and their hydrolysis products (amino acids and peptides of different size). These hydrolysis products are generated by the post-mortem action of both endogenous peptidases of muscle tissue and by the enzyme machinery of the microorganisms that are normally employed in the elaboration of dry-cured products. The objective is also to apply these techniques to the analysis of the metabolite products that are generated from muscle biochemical reactions. - Study of the organoleptic, nutritional and biological/functional properties of compounds existing in meat and processed meat products through use of both classical and emerging biochemical approaches. - Development and integration of state-of-the-art Proteomic, Interactomic and Metabolomic approaches as a way to discover new biochemical markers capable to explain and predict the final quality of meat and meat products. - Implementation of molecular biology techniques related to cloning and expression of muscle enzymes that can be relevant in meat ageing processes and dry-curing, with the overall objective to better know these processes and thus to better evaluate their importance in the final product quality. - Development of Proteomic and Peptidomic approaches that can be relevant for both laboratory control and meat industry as a real and reliable alternative to methods currently in use to determine meat authenticity. These new approaches for the control of fraud in food composition would be based on the identification and characterization of marker peptides specific of a particular animal species and/or tissue.


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Research staff