The MxQ group has three Biosafety Type II laboratories devoted to the microbiological analysis of food, soil and water, including irrigation water, process water and reclaimed water. The microbiological analyses of food are performed in the main Biosafety Lab. Water analyses are executed in the second Biosafety Lab located in a separate building next to CEBAS-CSIC main building, while the third Biosafety lab is placed in the pilot plant, used to perform challenge tests mimicking industrial processing practices. These facilities are equipped with all the tools needed for detecting and quantifying microorganisms following classical and molecular methods.


This unit is equipped with advanced devices needed for genome analysis in food, water and soil samples. The MxQ group uses a broad set of genome protocols that allow the quantitative and qualitative analyses of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) up to genome-wide gene expression and genotyping studies using different platforms including:
  • DNA and RNA thermocyclers (BIO RAD)
  • Real-time PCR (Applied Biosystems QuantStudio 5)
  • RT Multiplex Thermocycler (GeneDisc, Pall)
The QX ONE Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) System (BIO RAD) is a highly precise system for the sensitive and reproducible nucleic acid detection and quantification primarily because measurements are performed by dividing the sample into partitions. Each partition is analyzed after end-point PCR cycling for the presence (positive reaction) or absence (negative reaction) of a fluorescent signal, and the absolute number of molecules present in the sample is calculated. It does not rely on a standard curve for sample target quantification, reducing errors and improving precision.
The Genomic unit is also equipped with versatile tools for assessing the quantity and quality of the extracted DNA and RNA, allowing the evaluation of integrity, concentration and purity, such as 4150 TapeStation System for Sample Quality Control, Gel Image Capture System and Nanodrop for ARN/ADN extraction purity device.


The MxQ group can study the genetic material recovered directly from food and environmental samples through metagenomic sequencing, which allows the comprehensive analysis of all genes present in a complex sample. Microbiome analysis is performed using a Real-time, long read sequencers (MinION Mk1C CapEx, Oxford Nanopore Technologies), which allows identification, classification and quantitation of microbes within a complex biological sample. The long-read metagenomic sequencing is an effective, culture-free method to study microbial communities with considerable accuracy.


This facility is devoted to the characterization and quantification of volatile and non-volatile secondary metabolites and small molecules of various metabolic pathways. The MxQ group is able to perform qualitative or quantitative analysis by detecting the spectra of a series of samples and combining them with chemical pattern recognition methods. These advanced tools used by the unit include: Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GS-MS 7890 Agilent) with solid-phase microextraction, treatment and derivatization of samples.


  • Headspace GC-MS (Agilent GC model 7890A equipped with an Agilent MS detector model 5975C).
  • UPLC-ESI-MS Triple Quadrupole for directed metabolomics analysis (Agilent UPLC model 1290 infinity and Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer model 6460).
  • UPLC-ESI-QTOF-MS for untargeted metabolomics analysis (Agilent UPLC model 1290 infinity and Accurate-Mass Quadrupole time-of-flight model 6550).
  • HPLC-DAD-ESI-MSn for identification by fragmentation (Agilent HPLC model 1200 series  and Bruker ion trap spectrometer model HCT 122 Ultra).
  • HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS for identification and quantification (Agilent HPLC model 1200 series and  Single Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer model 6120).
  • UPLC-UV-QToF-MS-SPE-NMR ‘On-line’ for undirected metabolomics, isolation of non-identified metabolites and structural analysis by NMR (Bruker UPLC model maXis Impact and Bruker RMN model AVANCE III HD 500 MHz CryoProbe Prodigy BBO).


The involvement of the MxQ group in technology transfer projects makes the postharvest quality unit an essential facility to perform postharvest trials mimicking commercial conditions carried out by the industry. The unit includes the equipment needed for assessing the quality and shelf life of fresh products and the suitability of different postharvest intervention strategies.
To select optimal storage conditions, the unit has several cold rooms with temperature, humidity, and gas composition control (O2, CO2, C2H4), floorboard panels with needle valves for the continuous injection of controlled atmosphere, digital and manual flowmeters, gas mixer (Witt-Gasetechnik) with O2, CO2 and N2 inlet, nitrogen generators for modified and controlled atmospheres, CO2 analyzer (VIA 500 from Horiba) and O2 analyzer (CG-100 from Thermox) and gas chromatographs with Thermal Conductivity Detector (TCD) (Agilent 7820), Flame Ionization Detector (FID) (Shimadzu GC-14) and TCD and FID detectors (Perkin Elmer Autosystem).
The unit is also equipped with: a texturometer ( from Stable Micro Systems) with punches of different diameters and a Kramer cell with 5 blades and clamps for tension tests, an automatic titrator (Metrohn 785 DMP Tritino), a digital refractometer (Abbe), a photometer (Spectroquant Nova 60) for measuring COD, free chlorine, nitrites, nitrates and ozone, a photocolorimeter (Minolta CR-400 and CR-300), a photography equipment unit, and a separate sections equipped with red and white lights for the sensory analysis.
There is a fresh-cut processing pilot plant equipped with cutters, washing containers, an industrial dryer (Kronen), an horizontal packaging machine (Reepack), a vertical packaging machine (ULMA), a Laser microperforation system (Perfotec) and dynamic disinfection unit to simulate a washing tank with physicochemical disinfection agents such as UV-C lights, and electrochemical cells.