Dr. Almenar received her Ph.D. in 2005 from the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology-Spanish Council for Scientific Research (IATA-CSIC) for her work in active packaging. Since then, she has mainly worked in the field of fresh produce packaging, which has led to over 10 years of experience in prolonging the shelf life of fresh produce using packaging. In the course of her career, she has worked with different packaging technologies (modified atmosphere packaging, controlled atmosphere packaging, active packaging, and coatings) and packaging materials (bio-based and petroleum-based) as well as with different fruits and vegetables (whole and minimally processed) besides other perishables like meats and cereals.
Dr. Almenar is currently an associate professor at the School of Packaging at Michigan State University, and is mainly working on developing packaging materials made from renewable feedstock with a focus on active packaging materials (antimicrobial, scavenge, and temperature-sensitivity materials) for the delivery of high-quality and safe fresh produce. Utilizing her background and experience in material science and packaging, these new packaging materials are being created based on the characteristics and needs of the fresh produce and its supply chain for their successful commercial application. Her background in food science allows her to perform physicochemical, microbiological, and sensory studies to monitor the changes of the fresh produce packaged in these new materials during storage. These studies are carried out in close collaboration with researchers specialized in packaging, microbiology, postharvest physiology, and sensory analysis, as well as with produce growers, commodity groups, plastic suppliers, and packaging equipment suppliers from different countries around the world.
Dr. Almenar has authored and co-authored a variety of publications, including 32 peer-review articles and 5 book chapters. She is also the author of 7 invention disclosures. Dr. Almenar teaches the undergraduate courses “Packaging with Plastics” (PKG 323) and “Packaging & Shelf Life of Perishables” (PKG 491-Section 730) in the fall, and “Food Packaging” (PKG 455) in the spring. She also supervises individual studies to develop solutions to specific packaging problems (“Directed Studies in Packaging” (PKG 490-Section 001)).
PKG 455 Food Packaging: Food package systems related to specific products and processes. Product composition: problems and packaging solutions, shelf life considerations, and packaging lines.
PKG 490, Section 001 Directed Studies in Packaging: Development of solutions to specific packaging problems. Supervised individual study.
PKG 491 Special Topics: Selected topics of current interest.