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Food Technology and Safety

Lab Overview

The FoodTech&Safe Lab team main interests are related with the develop of novel technologies processes improving food quality and managing proactively the health risks associated to biological and chemical hazards arising from the food chain, namely zoonotic agents (bacteria and parasites) and food chemical hazards (dioxins and other undesirable substances, residues and contaminants), particularly on animal origin-foods.

The team develops scientifically based strategies in order to reply to the technological and research needs of food industry aiming food safety, quality improvement and consumers’ satisfaction. The FoodTech&Safe Lab research include the develop of new food processing technologies, improving preservation for better shelf life, food authenticity, quality and safety with emergent technologies. Some specific ongoing research lines include:

1) Strategies to reduce the formation of carcinogenic chemicals in Dry Cured Meat Products;

2) Traditional foods shelf life improvement by the application of emergent technologies (Isostatic High Pressure, UV pulsed light, ultrasounds) and by the development of new ingredients and processes;

3) Selection of bacteria with technological and/or probiotic potential from traditional fermented products of animal origin, namely meat sausages and cheese. Quality and safety improvement of traditional fermented meat products by the use of protective microbiota or bacteriocins nanoparticles under the concept of biopreservation;

 4) Control of Campylobacterand like-Campylobacterorganisms on poultry meat and products;

5) Ready to eat products: Pathogenomics and control of Listeria monocytogenes;

6) Pathogenomics of bacterial foodborne pathogens Enterococci, Salmonellaand Aeromonas.

The FoodTech&Safe Lab team is experienced in food microbiology (OMIC technologies), chemistry and food processes optimization. Our expertise is related to safety preventive measures and food quality and safety management systems. The team work is linked to the pathogenomics of Campylobacter and like-Campylobacterorganisms, Listeriamonocytogenes, Salmonella, Aeromonas and with the genomic diversity and interactions of Lactic acid bacteria and Staphylococcus spp. 

The FoodTech&Safe Lab is equipped with food microbiology and food physicochemical lab facilities and a “Technological workshop”, a differentiated pilot scale premise equipped to allow the reproduction of industrial food processes and offering the possibility of new food and processes development.


- Studies reported a high level of Campylobacter contamination in poultry and also provided evidence that antimicrobial resistance (particularly to fluoroquinolones) is common among strains isolated from organic and intensive poultry production systems in Portugal. These results reinforce the need to develop strategies to reduce Campylobacter in chickens, and the necessity to reduce the use of antimicrobials in the poultry sector and implement specific control procedures to decrease the level of contamination in poultry meat by Campylobacterspp. Multi drug resistance (MDR) C. coliand two of the four MDR C. jejuniisolates studied presented polymorphisms at the cmeABC locus, strongly suggesting the role of this efflux pump in the MDR phenotype, in addition to the previously described point mutations in specific molecular targets. Also, C. coliwere dominant with a high frequency of resistance to fluoroquinolones, tetracycline and ampicillin among quails flocks and producers studied. The fact that quails could be submitted to the same therapeutics continuously, inducing selectivity due to antibiotic stress pressure, seems to diminish the strains genetic diversity with the prevalence of a single pulsotype among quail's producers. C. colicontamination in quails could be a source of exposure to multidrug-resistant isolates for consumers. Presently, the group in an ongoing project will develop strategies at producing and industry level for Campylobactercontrol on poultry meat and meat products.


- Dry cured meat sausages are very popular ready-to-eat meat based products. Strategies to improve quality and safety of cured meat products have been studied by the group. The use of hybrid genotype meat in the manufacture of these products, traditionally made exclusively of Alentejano pig meat, does not affect their sensory properties. Moreover, salt reduction does not negatively affect the quality and acceptability of sausages. The application of emergent technologies such as HPP on this much appreciated traditional products showed that this technology can be successfully applied without losses of sensory and nutritional characteristics. The modelling and optimization of the HPP process applied on dry fermented sausages are an advantage to industry efficiency. The utilization of HPP by the industry can significantly increase dry fermented meat sausage shelf life and safety, providing an opportunity to reach the global market. The application of essential oils in the manufacture of dry cured sausage resulted in an interesting strategy to improve its safety against Salmonellaspp, L. monocytogenes and S. aureus, but with sensory limitations, that does not allow its use in high concentrations, that are those more interesting for pathogen inhibition.

Industries with a high hygienic audit classification revealed higher probability to present L. monocytogenes serogroups more commonly associated to human disease, which could be the result of a previous identification of the pathogen, with an enforcement of the hygiene program without recognizing the real source of contamination. This reinforces the general assumption that a conjoined diagnosis using audit data and microbiological testing offers a more comprehensive insight and strengthens the Food safety management systems assessment conclusions.

The selection of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and coagulase negative staphylococci (CNS) to be used as starters on meat products have been done by the group. Genomically diverse isolates were selected. Autochthonous LAB and CNS showing low antibioresistance and low biogenic amines producing were selected as potential starters for future use in the production of dry fermented meat sausages.


Selected Publications


Fraqueza, M.J., Borges, A., Patarata, L. 2018. Strategies to reduce the formation of carcinogenic chemicals in dry cured meat products. Chapter 9.  In:Volume 16: Food control and biosecurity [Handbook of Food Bioengineering Series].Editors: Alexandru Grumezescu, Alina Maria Holban. Elsevier Academic Press  ISBN:9780128114452. pp: 295-341.

Alves, S. P., Alfaia, C. M., Škrbić, B. D., Zivancev, J. R., Fernandes, M. J.,Bessa, R. J. B., Fraqueza, M. J. 2017. Screening chemical hazards of dry fermented sausages from distinct origins: Biogenic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy elements. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 59, 124–131.

Henriques A. R., Telo Da Gama L., Fraqueza M. J. 2017. Tracking Listeria monocytogenes contamination and virulence in the ready-to-eat meat-based food products industry according to the hygiene level. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 242, 101-106.

Laranjo, M., Gomes, A., Agulheiro-Santos, A. C., Potes, M. E., Cabrita, M. J., Garcia, R., Rocha, J. M., Roseiro, L. C., Fernandes. M. J., Fraqueza, M. J., Elias, M. 2017. Impact of salt reduction on biogenic amines, fatty acids, microbiota, texture and sensory profile in traditional blood dry-cured sausages. Food Chemistry, 218, 129-136.

Santos, S. C., Fraqueza M. J., Elias, M., Barreto, A. S., Semedo-Lemsaddek, T. 2017. Traditional dry smoked fermented meat sausages: Characterization of autochthonous enterococci. LWT - Food Science and Technology, 79, 410-415.


Fraqueza, M.J., Patarata, L., Lauková, A. 2016. Protective cultures and bacteriocines in fermented meats. Chapter 11 In: Fermented meat products: Health aspects. Editor: Nevijo Zdolec. CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group, NW, USA, ISBN:978-1-4987-3304-5. pp. 228-269.

Cardo, M., Martins, A., Raminhos, C., Campos, M., Bernardo, F. 2016. Determination of PCDD/F levels in wood shavings used as bedding material for poultry productionJournal of Environmental Protection, 7, 2047-2055.

Semedo-Lemsaddek, T., Carvalho, L., Tempera, C., Fernandes, M. H., Fernandes, M. J., Elias, M., Barreto, A. S., Fraqueza, M. J. 2016. Characterization and technological features of autochthonous coagulase-negative staphylococci as potential starters for Portuguese dry fermented sausages. Journal of Food Science, 81 (5), M1198-M1202.

Fraqueza, M. J. 2015. Antibiotic resistance of lactic acid bacteria isolated from dry-fermented sausages. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 212, 76-88.

Fraqueza, M.J., Barreto, A.S. 2014. HACCP: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. Chapter 53. In:  Handbook of Fermented Meat and Poultry: Second Edition. Editors: Fidel Toldrá, Y. H. Hui, Iciar Astiasarán, Joseph G. Sebranek and Règine Talon. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118522653.ch53



ANCAVE- Associação Nacional Dos Centros De Abate E Indústrias Transformadoras de Carne de Aves

ARCOLSA- Associação Regional de Criadores de Ovinos Leiteiros da Serra da Arrábida

Associação Nacional de Criadores de Suínos de Raça Bísara (ANCSUB)



Bureau Veritas Certification Portugal

Cooperativa Agrícola de Boticas

Cooperativa para a Educação e Reabilitação de Cidadãos Inadaptados de Cascais

Faculdade de Ciências-Universidade de Lisboa-

Faculdade de Farmácia-Universidade de Lisboa-

Faculty of Technology, University of Novi Sad, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia

Groquifar- Associação de Grossistas de produtos químicos e farmacêuticos

Hiperfrango - Produção Avícola Lda.,

Lusiaves - Industria e Comercio Agro-Alimentar SA,

IBET-Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnologica

INSA- Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge

Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries, IRTA, Espanha

Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Saint-Genès Champanelle, France.

Institute of Animal Physiology, Kosice, Slovakia.

Instituto Politécnico de Bragança

Instituto Tecnológico Agrario. Junta de Castilla y León. Estación Tecnológica de la Carne. Guijuelo (Salamanca) .

Irmãos Monteiro, S.A.

ITQB- Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica-Universidade Nova

Jardim Zoológico de Lisboa



Oceanário de Lisboa

Paladares Alentejanos, Lda.

Sonae Continente, SA

Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto

Universidade de Évora

Universidade de Trás os Montes e Alto Douro

Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Campus Arapiraca, Pólo Viçosa, Brasil.

Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Department of Chemistry and Bioengineering, Vilnius, Lithuania.