M&Q Group

The group of Microbiology and Quality of Fruit and Vegetables (MxQ) belongs to the Department of Food Science and Technology at CEBAS-CSIC. The team includes scientific staff, Dr. Maria I. Gil (Research Professor), Dr. Ana Allende (Scientific Researcher) and Dr. Pilar Truchado (Contracted Ramón y Cajal), highly qualified staff, Dr Juan Antonio Tudela (Technical) and Dr Alicia Marín (Technical) as well as experienced technicians, Postdoc, Predoc, MSc and undergraduate students.


As the group has a solid background in microbiology and quality of fresh fruit and vegetables, it is prepared to cover food safety issues from fundamental to applied aspects of microbial and chemical risks and postharvest biology and technology, including postharvest shelf life. The main research topics are directed to studying pre and postharvest factors that affect quality and safety of fruit and vegetables. The incorporation of new generation sequencing techniques (NGS) combined with the knowledge in the physiological and agronomic characteristics of fresh produce constitutes a perfect combination to respond to the problems of growers and processors regarding safety and quality questions related to fresh and fresh-cut products.

Mission and Goals

The mission of MxQ is to initiate, advance, and promote basic and applied research through outreaching activities with the goals on:

Potential risk factors associated with microbial and chemical hazards in the primary production, postharvest handling and processing activities. Evaluation of postharvest intervention strategies. Detection and quantification of human pathogenic microorganisms (e.g. bacteria and virus).

Development and implementation of emerging postharvest technologies and process operations capable of preserving quality and safety throughout the whole supply chain. Evaluation of water disinfection practices to minimize cross-contamination of fresh produce and prevent chemical risks generated by disinfection by-products (DBPs).

Occurrence and concentration of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria and/or resistance determinants in fresh produce chain.

Environmental monitoring and control of Listeria in the fresh produce industry. Evaluation of the risk associated with the production and processing environment.

Water-based epidemiology to monitor emerging pathogens (e.g. SARS CoV-2) as a rapid alert system to implement control measures to reduce risk.