Bioactive compounds and functional foods


Lines of research

In this line of research we study the bioaccessibility of bioactive compounds present in foods of plant origin, preferably prebiotic (poly)phenolic compounds, after being subjected to an in vitro gastrointestinal digestion process and the action of the intestinal microbiota. It includes the identification and quantification, by means of targeted metabolomics, of bioaccessible polyphenolic compounds (potentially absorbable and/or fermentable by the intestinal microbiota), the metabolites generated (phenolics and short-chain fatty acids) after in vitro gastrointestinal digestion.

Likewise, the study of the bioavailability of these compounds and the profile of phenolic metabolites generated after their ingestion is addressed, by means of programs of study of intervention in humans, in order to elucidate the metabolic routesand the kinetics of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) of these compounds in the human body, metabolism and excretion(ADME) of these compounds in the human body, in order to know which polyphenols or metabolites could reach the different organs and exert their beneficial activity there, and which would act only at the level of the gastrointestinal tract, mainly in the microbiota. This will make it possible to determine possible interindividual differences in the metabolism of these bioactive compounds(metabotypes) and to propose biomarkers of polyphenol intake, which is of great interest for progress towards personalized nutrition.

In addition, we evaluate the functional effect of bioactives and probiotics that, either alone or in combination, have beneficial effects. For this purpose, we have a wide range of in vitro (cell lines, co-cultures) and in vivo(C. elegans, rat, mouse, human) models, which allow the study at both phenotypic and molecular level of various parameters related to obesity, such as adiposity, weight control, insulin resistance, hepatic steatosis, oxidative stress and inflammation. Finally, we carried out programs of study mechanistic by metagenomics (study of the effect on the composition of the intestinal microbiota) and non-targeted metabolomics (HPLC-TOF), which allows us to identify metabolites of bacterial origin(postbiotics) related to the beneficial effects of these probiotics and prebiotics.

This line of research addresses the challenge of formulating ingredients or vehicles capable of incorporating bioactive compounds into food matrices for the development of functional foods. The nutritional/health aspects are studied, as well as the technological aspects, which allow processing lines that are easy to apply, and the economic aspects. In addition, the stability and shelf life of the developed foods are studied, as well as the bioaccessibility (through in vitro digestion) of the nutrients and bioactive components, as a consequence of the product elaboration process. We have experience in the development of foods in both the meat and bakery-pastry sectors.


Team researcher

→ Gwenaelle Ceniceros





→ Adriana Andrés Arija


Maria Cartagena

Katherine Gutierrez

Cristina Matías

Ignacio Goyache 

Marina Andrés Múñoz 

Teresa Páramo 

Itziar Ariz










Concepción Cid

manager from area

Concepción Cid

C/ Irunlarrea, 1

31009 Pamplona, Spain

+34 948 425600