Sustainability of livestock production systems.
The main objective is to evaluate from a multidisciplinary approach those aspects that may contribute to improve the sustainability of differing livestock production systems used to obtain animal-origin products such as cheese, milk or meat, with a particular focus on livestock production systems based on grazing management. An important aspect in this research line is the generation of new indicators that include socio-economic, environmental and food quality and safety aspects.
Production and evaluation of high quality meat: nutritional and sensory characterization. Identification of quality related genetic markers.
The general objective is the characterization and quality optimization of ruminant and monogastric meat under different production systems, with emphasis on pasture based production system. The present research line studies new markers (genotypic markers) and new production methods (new feedstuff or animal management approach) that may led to a quality or nutritional improvement on the final product.
This project also delves deeper into the knowledge of the nutritional, genetic and sensory distinctive characteristics of the meat from differing production systems in order to increase their added market value.
Traceability and authentication of foods from animal origin.
The objective is to identify specific markers on food products (milk, cheese, meat) that have differential characteristics by geographical origin, production or technological process that allow their authentication and differentiation in the market. The establishment of new authenticity and traceability indicators would provide an effective tool to increase the competitiveness of those products on the market and avoid the possibility of fraud.
Food sensory analysis: relationship between product composition, processing technologies and the sensory properties of the final product.
The objective is the development of new sensory analysis and characterization methods linking the sensory properties of the food products to their composition and the processing technology used on their elaboration. Furthermore, this research line studies consumer perception and acceptability. Special emphasis has been placed on the establishment of trained tasters' panels and accreditation methods for the evaluation of different food products, particularly those protected under quality labels.
Improvement and adaptation of processing technologies in cheese manufacturing.
The objective is to improve the overall economic and environmental performance of cheese production small dairies through the innovation and adaptation of cheesemaking conditions. The main highlight of the research is the study and control of the cheese processing technologies in order to increase the performance and profitability of the enterprise, while reducing the production and the degree of contamination of the whey.
New materials and optimal technologies for food preservation.
The objective is to optimize storage and preservation conditions in foods, particularly mature cheeses, by the assessment of the use of new biodegradable and sustainable materials, as well as the most appropriate conservation technologies, to increase the food shelf life while avoiding modifications on nutritional or sensory properties.
Consumption of foods from animal origin and their impact on human health.
The objective is to investigate the effect that the consumption of foods from animal origin can have on humans from both a positive impact on nutrition and health, and the potential negative impact related to various pathologies. In particular, Lactiker has begun a research work on dissemination of antibiotic resistance microorganisms and genes through the food chain, in close collaboration with other research groups working in the field of environment, animal production, or hospital medicine.
Functionality and safety of the microbiota of fermented dairy products.
The objective is to study the microbiota that develops in cheese, at different elaboration and ripening stages, using DNA New Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies. The relationship between the genetic arsenal, its metabolic potential and the production of compounds of interest in the development of the characteristics of the final product, and its traceability will be studied. On the other hand, the presence and dynamics of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in fermented dairy products will be analysed, using molecular techniques, in order to establish measures to reduce their populations and prevent their transmission to the environment and humans.