A (Arnau) Vilas FranquesaPostdoctoral Researcher
After graduating in Food Science and Technology from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona on 2014 I enrolled to the MSc Food Quality Management at WUR, from which I graduated in 2016. After performing my internship at Kerry Group in Scotland, I went back to study a second MSc this time in Food Nutrition and Metabolism at the Universitat de Barcelona, where I graduated in 2017. One year later I started my PhD in Food Science, an industrial PhD program partnering a food supplement producing company and the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. During my PhD I studied different processes that could be applied to sea buckthorn berries, as they have an outstanding nutritional value, inculding berry juice fermentation (using lactic acid bacteria), oil extraction (using supercritical CO2 and green solvents), juice concentration (using cryoconcentration, evaporation and forward osmosis), and finally exploring differences between cultivars over different years.
I sucessfully defended my PhD on the 1st of July of 2021 and was awarded with a cum laude. After graduating I applied for and won a competitive grant "Margarita Salas" from my former University, a grant for young doctors funded by the Next Generation EU program. This allowed me to be back at WUR once more, this time as postdoctoral researcher.
My main research focus is on the upcycling of by-products by fermentation strategies, principally focusing on the use of vegetable matrices and lactic acid bacteria, as they can also bring probiotic activity as added value. This research allows me to understand more in depth one of my preferred topics (food fermentation) by also providing value-added food ingredients and ultimately the formulation of new functional food products. In addition, the industrial applicability of fermentation processes is real and it brings added value to the food chain, as it gets the interest of food companies that usually throw away these products or sell it for biogas production or feed ingredients.