Lourdes Arce obtained her Master Degree in Chemistry (1994) and PhD Degree in Science with European mention and an award for best doctorate thesis (1999). Since 2007, she is associate professor at the University of Córdoba, Spain.
Our focus of research is the development of novel analytical techniques to resolve problems in which other techniques cannot be easily applied. For volatiles analytes, Ion Mobility Spectrometry (coupled to Gas Chromatography and or Supercritical Fluid Extraction) is used. And for the determination of liquid analytes, Capillary Electrophoresis is selected as separation technique. In both cases, quantitative and qualitative methods are being developed to be applied mainly in environmental and food samples. All research projects are funded by the Spanish government and also with some European projects.
Ion Mobility Spectrometry
The direct application of ion mobility techniques to the determination of target compounds in complex matrices such as environmental, food or human samples is challenging because the analytical methods and tools necessary to carry out it, are under development. Moreover, having the commitment to sort out problems related to low selectivity and in specific cases low sensitivity of ion mobility spectrometry, coupling techniques such as gas chromatography or supercritical fluid extractor will enhance analytical properties of this technology. IMS spectra provide chemical mapping with a high value of information and for that, the use of chemometric tools are compulsory.
CE has been very well evaluated in research laboratories for several years, and different new approaches to improve sensitivity (one of the main drawbacks of CE) and robustness have been proposed. However, this technique is still not well accepted in routine laboratories for food analysis and it is one of the aims of some of our research projects. The selectivity of some methodologies is being improved selecting the correct sample treatment using different extraction procedures.
Olive oil classification
Currently, extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil and lampante oil are classified by sensory analysis. The sensory assessment methodology is slow, expensive and not free of error, causing serious economic loss for both producers and retailers. As such, the official method is being questioned by numerous sectors. And for this reason, several analytical methods are under study to differentiate between different categories of olive oils. In this group, a new platform is being designed including two orthogonal techniques and the use of global profiling and/or targeted analysis to resolve this analytical problem which is too complex to be resolved with a single instrumental method in isolation.
She has taught Analytical Chemistry subjects in different degrees from the Faculty of Science (Chemistry and Environmental Science); Faculty of Veterinary (Food Science Technology) and in the School of Agriculture and Forestry Engineering (Enology). She also teaches modules in different Masters.
Some of the methods developed with Ion Mobility technology are being transferred to Spanish SMEs companies (mainly related with the olive oil industry). These collaborations are done under different research contracts (article 83 L.O.U.).
Experience in other universities
University of Hull (UK), University of Stockholm (Sweden), University Pablo de Olavide (Sevilla, Spain), University of Vienna (Austria), University of Newcastle (UK), University of Concepción (Chile), University of Lincoln (UK), University of Loughborough (UK).