Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science, Aarhus University
Adjunct Professor, Department of Physics, University of Guelph
Seeking Academic or Industry Partnerships in the Areas of:
- Food production and processing
- Ingredient manufacturing
Carbohydrate chemistry, food engineering, plant-based foods, nanomaterials, starch digestion rate, glycemic response
Education and Employment Background
Prof. Martinez received his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Valladolid, Spain in 2016. He completed his postdoctoral training in Carbohydrate Physical Chemistry and Digestion at the Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, Purdue University, Indiana before joining the University of Guelph School of Engineering in 2017 as an assistant professor. As of 2020, he is a food science professor at Aarhus University (Denmark) and adjunct professor in the University of Guelph’s department of physics.
Prof. Martinez’ research focuses on both fundamental and applied research on edible plant tissues, using physicochemical, biological and engineering concepts to create plant-based ingredients for functionality and enhanced health. His research encompasses the study of carbohydrate chemistry, glucose homeostasis, starch digestion rate, the influence of starch structure on food texture, use of fruit and vegetable byproducts, and engineering of plant-based meat analogs. He uses high shear extrusion and molecular shear scission to modify the molecular structure of starch and other food components to achieve a desired function in food.
His research currently focuses on the following major themes:
- Slowing the digestion rate of starch to produce a lower glycemic response after consumption. This research will enable the production of starch-containing foods that do not cause a spike in blood glucose. These foods will decrease the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and in general, provide longer lasting energy levels.
- Turning fruit and vegetable byproducts such as banana pulp, or pomace from the juice-making process, into nutritional supplements. These supplements could be incorporated into food, increasing its nutritional value and reducing the amount of waste.
- Implementing whole muscle tissue engineering and high moisture extrusion to manufacture plant-based meat analogs. This research may lead to alternative ‘meat’ products that are more sustainable.
- Fundamental research on the inhibition of intestinal transport of glucose by phenolic compounds. Consuming phenolic compounds could contribute to regulation of glucose homeostasis, which especially relevant when consuming foods rich in available carbohydrates, i.e. those that will raise the blood glucose concentration.
- High shear extrusion to control the molecular shear scission of food biopolymers, such as carbohydrates and proteins. This will improve the functionality of biopolymers and broaden their applications while promoting their sustainable production.
- Secured $575,000 in funding from the Walmart Foundation
- Secured $330,000 in funding from the Good Food Institute
- Obtained 2 NSERC-CRD grants totaling $415,000 with contribution from Bonduelle (leader in Canada in terms of frozen and canned food) and Ardent Mills Canada (leader in the production of wheat flours and specialty bakery mixes)
- Received $236,500 from the Ontario Agri-food Innovation Alliance and the Barrett family Foundation with contribution from Griffith Foods (leader in commercial mixes for the food industry)
- Received CEPS Assistant Professor Research Excellence Award (2019)
Received CEPS Assistant Professor Research Excellence Award
Dietary Carbohydrates and Glycemic Response Research:
Plant-based Meat Research:
- Food in Canada: U of G research team receives International award to develop plant-based steak
- U of G News: U of G Research Team Receives International Award to Develop Plant-Based Steak
- Live Kindly: Canadian Researchers Dedicating 2 Years Perfecting Vegan Steak
- Good Food Institute: GFI Awards $3M in Funding to 14 Scientists for Plant-Based and Cell-Based Meat Research
- Good Food Institute: Announcing Inaugural GFI Grant Recipients
Food Waste Research:
- Guelph Mercury: $1M-plus from Walmart to U of Guelph for food waste research
- U of G News: U of G Food Waste Research Receives Nearly $1.3 Million From Walmart Foundation