I graduated the Faculty of Chemistry and I have a PhD degree in Chemistry. Since 1992 I work in the field of chemistry and biochemistry of natural compounds, especially on carotenoids. The research activity is related to four major aspects:
1. Characterization of carotenoids in different rich vegetal sources (e.g. sea buckthorn, apricots) or food with emphasis on the esterified form of carotenoids, using analytical techniques (HPLC/PDA/MS; GC/MS).
2. Evaluation of antioxidant properties of carotenoids by chemical tests and on cell culture model as well as their interaction with artificial (liposomes) or natural membranes (UV/VIS and fluorescence spectroscopy).
3. Investigation of biological properties of carotenoids in cell culture models. One of the research project evaluated the effect of xanthophylls (lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin) on the antioxidant status of retinal pigment epithelial cell, in different models of induced oxidative stress. Lycopene was tested for cytotoxic activity on hepatic tumour cells.
4. Studies on the stability of carotenoid esters in model systems and food. The esters of β-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin with saturated and unsaturated fatty acids were synthesized or isolated and their thermal and photochemical stability was determined. Currently, we work on the stability of carotenoid esters in food (seabuckthorn and apricot fruits and derived products) during storage and processing.