Our group focuses its research on:
Tolerance of horticultural crops and fruity trees to multiple stresses
In this section of the ANTIOX-AgriFood Biotech group, we investigate the physiology behind fruity trees and horticultural plants subjected to multiple stresses like drought, high light, extreme temperatures, nutrient starvation or fungal attack to enhance control and efficiency of crops and orchards under these circumstances.
Biostimulants and biofertilisers
During the last decade there has been a growing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly agriculture. Biofertilisers and biostimulants, which are based on natural compounds and microorganisms with beneficial properties to crop plants, are presently essential for the development of an environmentally-friendly agriculture. In this context, the greatest challenge in developing these products is to ensure productivity and efficiency rates in crops, so that farmers do not compromise their profits.
At the ANTIOX-AgriFood Biotech group, we help developing new biostimulants and biofertilizers, and also evaluate action mechanisms of newly developed products with the analysis of the plant response to the application of these products. Our final goal is to help developing new products that can be effective and efficient for an extensive use in agriculture.
Interaction profiling of phytohormones
Our research interest lies in the interaction and profiling of phytohormones to gain new insights into their function as signaling molecules regulating plant physiology, development and adaptation to environmental stimuli. Over more than a decade, our group has developed and improved a rapid and sensitive UPLC/ESI-MS/MS method to the simultaneous quantification of all known phytohormone classes, including: cytokinins, auxins , ethylene, gibberellins, abscisic acid, brassinosteroids, jasmonates, salicylic acid, and strigolactones. The activities of phytohormones, which are present in plant tissues in extremely low concentrations (fmol to pmol g – 1 fresh weight), depend on their i) availability (controlled by their biosynthesis and metabolism rates), ii) cellular and subcellular localization, iii) transport and iv) reactions to signal perception and transduction pathways. Moreover, phytohormone signaling involves complex interactions within all signaling pathways involved, and any kind of modulation influence myriad physiological processes.
The main area of our group is the study of these physiological processes using phytohormone “interaction profiling”. Our research is supported by several HPLC and UHPLC systems coupled to mass spectrometers (API 3000 and 4000 TQMS and QTRAP 6500) that are able to quantify and identify not only phytohormones, but also precursors and metabolites.
Fruit physiology and technology
Fruit development and ripening are complex processes that directly affect their final quality. In this sense, it is essential to guarantee a correct fruit development so that it can acquire organoleptic properties to meet consumers’ demands, along with all nutritional and bioactive components that make fruit consumption beneficial for human health.
In this part of the ANTIOX-AgriFood Biotech group, we focus our research to better understand the physiology behind fruit development and ripening on tree and during the postharvest period, so that we can enhance fruit quality in terms of their organoleptic properties and nutritional value.
Flower senescence and longevity
Flowers are highly appreciated worldwide because of their beauty, aroma and bright colours, which make them the focus in multiple social events. However, their shelf-life is usually short, both in cut and uncut flowers and, although their market generates great profits, flower lifespan determines their final value.
For this reason, at the ANTIOX-AgriFood Biotech team we investigate mechanisms related to flower longevity and senescence, and help develop new products to enhance flower lifespan, so that consumers can enjoy flower beauty for longer periods.
To learn more about our research, please visit publications on this website where you can access to our most recent publications.