Areas of expertise

Background

Dr Alamar obtained her PhD in Food Technology in 2007 by the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), conducting her research wok in two centres of excellence in the postharvest field: Agriengineering Centre, Valencian Institute for Agricultural Research (IVIA), Spain, and KU-Leuven University, Belgium. During this period she gained an in-depth understanding of non-destructive postharvest techniques (viz. near infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance) for the estimation of internal food quality-related attributes, and of the mechanical behaviour of fresh fruits and vegetables. Prior to starting her career as a postdoc at Cranfield University, Dr Alamar worked as a Food Quality Inspector for Ibertrade, Spain, in close collaboration with USDA counterparts (2007). In 2009, she was awarded a Postgraduate fellowship (Rank 1st) by the Research and Food Technology Department- Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Department (Spain), being her main responsibility the management and organisation of scientific seminars/meetings where both academia and industrialists were able to interact in order to address/explore existing issues in the Agrifood sector. As academic visitor in the Plant Science Laboratory at Cranfield University (2010-2012), she extended her experience in postharvest biology aiming at understanding the effect of supply chain on the physiology and biochemistry of ready-to-eat stone fruits in relation to fruit quality parameters. Dr Alamar was then appointed Research Fellow in Postharvest Bioscience in 2012 by Cranfield University.

Current activities

Dr Alamar's overall research expertise has focused on postharvest biology and technology of fresh produce. Her two core areas of research include: i) the use and implementation of postharvest technologies and ii) plant physiology and biochemistry of postharvest commodities. Her goal is to provide a holistic approach to Postharvest Bioscience where agri-engineering and biology (transcriptomics, biochemistry and physiology) are better integrated in order to tackle postharvest challenges throughout the supply chain. Dr Alamar has been actively involved in a number of high profile research projects/contracts for both BBSRC and DEFRA, and large corporates such as Unilever, Monsanto and Johnson Matthey. She lectures on Food Chain Systems MSc and supervises/co-supervises MSc/PhD students.

Her key research areas are:

  • Implementation of postharvest techniques such as control modified atmosphere, ethylene supplementation and 1-MCP; to prolong storage life and reduce waste of fruits and vegetables.
  • Investigation of the effects of postharvest storage techniques on the physiology and biochemistry, particularly in terms of secondary metabolites (viz. phenolic compounds and plant growth regulators). Targeted and non-targeted metabolomics.
  • Chemometrics and multivariate statistical analysis.
  • Identification of physiological and biochemical markers, and natural variants in key dormancy-related genes that can be used to select for dormancy-related traits.
  • Mechanistic understanding (transcriptomis) of plant senescence and dormancy break.

Clients

BBSR; DEFRA; Unilever; Monsanto; Johnson Matthey; Amcor; PepsiCo; MMUK Ltd

Publications

Articles In Journals

Conference Papers

Books

  • Alamar MC, Psichas A, Spence M & Willcock S (2017) The carbon footprint of high-protein foods: Perceptions and impact of consumer-facing information in the UK. Global Food Security Programme.