Ommochromes, the pigments that colour the skin of squids and other invertebrates, could be used in the food and health sectors for their antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. This is confirmed by the analyses carried out by researchers from the University of Sonora in Mexico and the Miguel Hernández University in Spain.
Diagram with the stages of the study. The main ommochrome identified in squid skin is xanthommatin / Chan-Higuera et al.
For their study, the researchers have used the giant squid (Dosidicus gigas), a species that is caught on the Pacific coast of America and which is mainly used for its mantle and tentacles. / Josafat Marina Ezquerra-Brauer.
Researchers from the University of Extremadura (Spain) have developed a methodology that allows us to know the properties of hams and whole loins using magnetic resonance imaging, the same non-invasive technique used in medicine. The method has already been made available to the meat industry.
Culinary treatments (boiling, microwaving, grilling, and deep frying) influence on proximate composition and antioxidant capacity of most cultivated mushrooms worlwide. A study by Spanish researchers has shown that microwaving and grilling are the best processes to maintain the nutritional profile of mushrooms.
Saffron from Spain is one of the world's most superior varieties, but the majority of this product which is labelled and exported as such originates in other countries. Scientists from the Czech Republic and Spain confirmed this false labelling after analysing 44 commercial products. By using a new technique based on each type of saffron's unique chemical 'fingerprint', the scientists have proved that over 50% of the samples were fraudulent.
An analysis of one hundred coffees sold in Spain has confirmed the presence of mycotoxins -toxic metabolites produced by fungi. In addition, five of the samples that were tested were found to contain ochratoxin A, the only legislated mycotoxin, in amounts that exceeded maximum permitted levels. While the authors point out that these results are not alarming, they do recommend assessing the risk that exposure to mycotoxins from coffee poses to the general public. They also suggest reviewing production processes in order to reduce the levels of these natural contaminants in coffee.
Researchers from the University of Valencia have analysed the mycotoxins produced by certain microscopic fungi in the beer and dried fruits, such as figs and raisins, confirming that these products meet food regulations. Only for heavy beer drinkers – who drink more than a litre a day –, the contribution of this commodity to the daily intake is not negligible, approaching or even exceeding the safety levels.
The antioxidant activity of citrus juices and other foods is undervalued. A new technique developed by researchers from the University of Granada for measuring this property generates values that are ten times higher than those indicated by current analysis methods. The results suggest that tables on the antioxidant capacities of food products that dieticians and health authorities use must be revised.
Consumers often complain that alcohol-free beer is tasteless, but some of the aromas it is lacking can be carried across from regular beer. Researchers from the University of Valladolid (Spain) have developed the technique and a panel of tasters has confirmed its effectiveness.