Mario M. Martinez, Ph.D.

Mario Martinez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Phone number: 
519-824-4120 ext: 58677
Richards Building, Room 3501
Thornbrough Building, Room 2133

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Research Impact and Interests

Dr. Martinez’ research focuses on fundamental research to practical applications of edible plant tissues and resorts to physicochemical, biological and engineering concepts to extend the use of plant-based ingredients as related to functionality and health. Dr. Martinez holds a BSc in Agricultural Engineering, a MSc in Food Innovation, a PhD in Chemistry and he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate on Carbohydrate Physical Chemistry and Digestion at the Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, Purdue University (USA). He is the Project Leader of the Food Innovation, Structure and Health (UoG-FISH) Research Group, whose main goal is to provide as many benefits as possible to member companies and project sponsors. In addition, the Martinez lab is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Ontario Agri-food Innovation Alliance, the Walmart Foundation, the Good Food Institute (GFI), Mitacs Canada, the Canadian Bureau for International Education and the Barret Family Foundation. Dr. Martinez was awarded the College and Engineering and Physical Sciences Assistant Professor Research Excellence Award for his outstanding research productivity in the fields of Food Engineering and Health.

Dr. Martinez recently joined the Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research (Purdue University), an industry member-based university research center, as Adjunct Assistant Professor. His main research interests are:

  • Carbohydrate chemistry and interactions with polyphenolics
  • High shear extrusion and molecular shear-scission
  • Manipulation of starch digestion rate for low glycemic response/slow digestion
  • Food textural properties influenced by starch fine structure
  • Fruit and vegetable by-products as nutritional improvers
  • Whole muscle tissue engineering and high moisture extrusion to manufacture plant-based meat analogs

Laboratory capabilities

The UoG-FISH lab is equipped with sophisticated research facilities split up into two main areas:

Primary and secondary processing: The Martinez lab counts with all the equipment necessary for particle size reduction of soft and hard plant tissues. He also counts with a pilot plant scale 27 mm (24 L/D) twin screw extruder ideal to conduct scalable cutting edge research in the food industry. His extruder is also equipped with top of the line solid and liquid gravimetric feeders to achieve production rates ranging from 5 to 100 Kg/h, depending on the application. Specifically, the Martinez lab’ extruder enables the manufacturing of pre-gelatinized flours and starches, texturized vegetable proteins (TVP), direct expanded products, and food ingredients with targeted molecular conformation for improved texture and better health. His extruder is also equipped with a cooling die that enables practical and fundamental research to manufacture high moisture meat analogs. Some processing equipment instruments belonging to the Martinez’ lab are:

  • ZSK Mv Plus Twin-Screw Extruder (Coperion K-Tron)
  • FKD-750 Cooling Die (DIL)
  • K-ML-D5-P Gravimetric Liquid Feeder (K-Tron)
  • K2-ML-D5-S60/60 Loss-in-Weight Gravimetric Feeder (K-Tron)
  • WW2 Water Re-circulating System (Haskris)
  • Rotor Beater Mill SR 300 (Retsch)
  • FreeZone 4.5 Liter -105C Freeze Dryer (Labconco)

Chemical, structural and nutritional characterization: The Martinez lab capabilities enable chemical, physical and biological characterization, highlighting food micro- and nano-structure, carbohydrate monomer composition, molecular size and conformation, chain length distribution of branched polymers, colorimetric and chromatographic analysis of phenolics, thermal transitions, rheology of liquids and viscoelastic materials in vitro nutrient bioaccesibility, among others. Some analytical instruments belonging to the Martinez’ lab are:

  • Discovery HR-3 Rheometer (TA Instruments)
  • DSC Q 25 Modulated (TA Instruments)
  • New-RVA 4800 (up to 140°C, Perten Instruments)
  • MicroViscoAmylograph (Brabender)
  • Supelco Visiprep TM Solid-Phase Extraction (Sigma)
  • Neoscope Desktop Scanning Electron Microscope (JEOL)
  • SFX550 Ultrasonics™ Sonifier™  Cell Disruptor with Ultrasonics™ Soundproof Enclosure (Branson)
  • SN 300 Autoclave (Yamato)
  • 24 Position Nitrogen Evaporator with pressure reducer (N-EVAP, Organomation)
  • Cytation Multimode-Reader (UV-Vis, fluorescence and luminescence, Biotek)
  • 2 Eppendorf ThermoMixer® F2.0 with thermoblock for 24 reaction vessels 2.0 mL
  • T 18 digital ULTRA-TURRAX® with S 18 N - 19 G Dispersing tool
  • 27 L Fisherbrand™ Isotemp™ Shaking Water Bath
  • 3 IKA Magnetic Stirrers RCT basic fully equipped with ETS D5, heating blocks and flasks carriers
  • Multiple sonicator water baths

The Martinez lab also has access to HPAEC and GC/MS equipment within the University of Guelph.


2019 Year in Review

Dietary polyphenolics for regulation of glucose homeostasis 

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS) faculty awards

Dietary Carbohydrates and Glycemic Response Research

Plant-based Meat Research

Food Waste Research

Current Dr. Martinez' Staff Members

Postdoctoral Research Associates

  • Dr. Laura Roman
  • Dr. Vasanth Ragavan
  • Dr. Natalia Prieto-Vidal

Visiting Professors

  • Dr. Mengmeng Guo. Assistant Professor at Shandong Agricultural University (China)

PhD Students

  • Farzane Nasrollahzade
  • Navneet Sharma
  • Kang Xu (PhD candidate from Shandong Agricultural University, China)

MASc/MSc Students

  • Listiya Widjaja
  • Richard Park
  • Shiva Swaraj
  • Mitchell Walker

Most Recent Publications in Scientific Journals


  • Fang, F., Martinez, M. M., Campanella, O. H.*, Hamaker, B. R.* (2020). Long-term low shear-induced highly viscous waxy potato starch gel formed through intermolecular double-helices. Carbohydrate Polymers (in press). 
  • Hayes, A. M. R., Swackhamer, C., Mennah-Govela, Y., Martinez, M. M., Diatta, A., Bornhorts, G. M., Hamaker, B. R.*. (2020). Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) couscous breaks down faster than wheat couscous in the Human Gastric Simulator, though has slower starch hydrolysis. Food & Function (in press). 
  • Roman, L., Reguilon, M. P., Gomez, M., Martinez, M. M.* (2020). Intermediate length amylose increases the crumb hardness of rice flour gluten-free breads. Food Hydrocolloids 100, 105451. 


  • Huang, S., Martinez, M. M., Bohrer, B. M.* (2019). The compositional and functional attributes of commercial flours from tropical fruits (breadfruit and banana). Foods 8, 586.  
  • Pico, J., Martinez, M. M.* (2019). Unraveling the inhibition of intestinal glucose transport by dietary phenolics: a review. Current Pharmaceutical Design 25, 3418 - 3433.  
  • Martinez, M. M.*, Gomez, M.* (2019). Current trends in the realm of bakery: when indulgent consumers demand healthy sustainable foods. Foods 8, 518.  
  • Pico, J., Corbin, S., Ferruzzi, M. G., Martinez, M. M.* (2019). Banana flour phenolics inhibit trans-epithelial glucose transport from wheat cakes in a coupled in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell intestinal model. Food & Function 10, 6300-6311. 
  • Roman, L., Martinez, M. M.* (2019). Structural basis of RS in bread: natural and commercial alternatives. Foods 8, 267. 
  • Pico, J., Xu, K., Guo, M., Mohamedshah, Z., Ferruzzi, M. G., Martinez, M. M.* (2019). Manufacturing the ultimate green banana flour: impact of drying and extrusion on phenolic profile and starch bioaccessibility. Food Chemistry 297, 124990. 
  • Roman, L., Campanella, O. H., Martinez, M. M.* (2019). Shear-induced molecular fragmentation decreases the bioaccessibility of fully gelatinized starch and its gelling capacity. Carbohydrate Polymers 215, 198-206.  
  • Sanchez-Rivera, M. M., Bello-Perez, L. A., Tovar, J., Martinez, M. M., Agama-Acevedo, E.* (2019). Esterified plantain flour for the production of cookies rich in indigestible carbohydrates. Food Chemistry 292, 1-5. 
  • Roman, L., Sahagun, M., Gomez, M., Martinez, M. M.* (2019). Nutritional and physical characterization of sugar-snap cookies: Effect of banana starch in native and molten states. Food & Function 10, 616-624. 
  • Roman, L., Gomez, M., Hamaker, B. R., Martinez, M. M.* (2019). Banana starch and molecular shear fragmentation dramatically increase structurally-driven slowly digestible starch in fully gelatinized bread crumb. Food Chemistry 274, 664-671.


  • Martinez-Alejo, J., Benavent-Gil, Y., Rosell, C.M., Carvajal, T., Martinez, M.M.* (2018). Quantifying the surface properties of enzymatically-made porous starches by using a surface energy analyzer. Carbohydrate Polymers 200, 543-551.
  • Roman, L., Gomez, M., Hamaker, B.R., Martinez, M.M.* (2018). Shear scission through extrusion diminishes inter-molecular interactions of starch molecules during storage. Journal of Food Engineering 238, 134-140.
  • Martinez, M.M.*, Li, C., Okoniewska, M., Mukherjee, N., Vellucci, D., Hamaker, B.R.* (2018). Slowly digestible starch in fully gelatinized material is structurally driven by molecular size and A and B1 chain lengths. Carbohydrate Polymers 197, 531-539. 
  • Martinez, M.M.*, Román, L., Gómez, M. (2018). Implications of hydration depletion in the in vitro starch digestibility of white bread crumb and crust. Food Chemistry 239, 295-303.
  • Roman, L., de la Cal, E., Gomez, M., Martinez, M.M.* (2018). Specific ratio of A- to B-type wheat starch granules improves the quality of gluten-free breads: optimizing dough viscosity and Pickering stabilization. Food Hydrocolloids 82, 510-518.
  • Roman, L.*, Pico, J., Antolin, B., Martinez, M.M., Gomez, M. (2018). Extruded flour improves batter pick-up, coating crispness and aroma profile. Food Chemistry 260, 106-114. 
  • Mancebo, C.M., Rodriguez, P., Martinez, M.M., Gomez, M.* (2018). Effect of the addition of soluble (nutriose, inulin and polydextrose) and insoluble (bamboo, potato and pea) fibres on the quality of sugar‐snap cookies. International Journal of Food Science & Technology 53, 129-136. 
  • Gomez, M., Martinez, M.M.* (2018). Fruit and vegetable by-products as novel ingredients to improve the nutritional quality of baked goods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 58, 2119-2135. 

Graduate Courses

  • ENGG*6090 Material Science & Engineering of Food Biopolymers

Undergraduate Courses

  • ENGG*3830 Bio-process Engineering
  • ENGG*4300 Food Processing Engineering Design

Related links

Affiliations and Partnerships

  • Member of the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACCI)
  • Member of the Carbohydrate Division of the AACCI
  • Editorial Board Member: Foods

Funded MASc positions in Biological/Food Engineering

This opportunity is for graduate students pursuing a degree in Biological/Food Engineering for the following research areas:
  • Extrusion Processing
  • Carbohydrate Chemistry and Physical Chemistry
  • Structure-Function-Digestion Relationships of Plant Biopolymers
  • Delivery of Nutrients in Complex Food Systems
For entry in the MASc/MEng programs, candidates must hold a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or Science. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until the positions are filled. 
For more information about opportunities for research in Canada at the Prof. Martinez' lab, visit the International Scholarships website