Who We Are
WeNou is an independent company based in Lisbon and created in May 2019, joining an experienced team with strong scientific, technical, market and commercial knowledge. It is highly focused in developing new molecular biology solutions for the industry.
In this context, WeNou provides innovative services based on DNA analysis, specially focused in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology and has ISO 17025 Accreditation.
WeNou was created to give answers to growing interest and concerns of all food chain stakeholders about food authenticity, safety and quality, including consumers, which demand more accurate information about the products they use. NGS meets a strong market need for reliable untargeted analytical methods that can detect several different targets at the same time. NGS application to food and feed analysis allows the reliable identification of the species content in a sample (meat, fish, plants, seafood, insects, microorganisms, etc.), providing a powerful tool for the assessment of food authenticity and safety, helping to prevent food fraud.
Furthermore, the universal applicability of NGS makes it suitable for use in other important areas, like environmental quality or animal health and diagnostics.
What We Can Do For You
We provide NGS and other DNA based analytical services mainly to the food and feed market for accessing food and feed authenticity (safety and quality), but also to the environmental and veterinary animal disease diagnostic
We develop new methods and define innovative approaches to better answer the new challenges our clients are facing
We work with clients and provide support to help to deal with problems related with their products and processes
We can work on specific projects on demand of our client
Meet The Team
Experienced Senior R&D Coordinator with demonstrated history in Applied Science and working associated with industry for developing new services and products. PhD from Universidade de Lisboa, focused on Microbiology and Molecular Biology. Highly skilled in DNA-based methods, Next Generation Sequencing applications, Metagenomics, Microbiology, Life Sciences and data analysis. Long experience in Environmental and Food DNA analysis. High experience on project scientific and technical management. In the last 6 years she has been coordinating the development and validation of DNA based services for food and environmental analysis, mainly focused in NGS. She has also coordinated and developed several NGS kits for species identification, currently available in the market. She was also responsible for replicating NGS applications in some market leader laboratories, providing support and training.
Actively involved as an expert in the standardization of molecular biology methods at ISO, CEN and AOAC levels and President of IPQ/TC 61 - Food Microbiology.
Pedro Miguel Penedo
Laboratory & Quality Manager
Graduation in Biotechnology from Universidade do Algarve and Master degree in Molecular Genetics and Biomedicine from Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
Experienced laboratory technician in the field of life sciences. Solid background in biotechnology industry field. Skilled in DNA-based methods including species identification of organisms for food authenticity, as well as data analysis from different sequencing platforms.
Experience in the laboratory projects management and knowledge o certification according ISO 9001. Responsible for the laboratory's quality management system within the scope of ISO/IEC 17025:2018 accreditation.
Senior Laboratory Technician
Graduation in Biology from Faculdade de Ciencias de Universidade Central de Venezuela and Master degree in Applied Microbiology from Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa.
Working experience on microbiology applied to a wide variety of matrices as food products, water, cosmetics, poultry, stool and.
Experience also on microorganisms handling. Skilled in molecular biology, particularly in DNA-based methods (different DNA extraction methods, PCR and real-time PCR). Long professional experience as laboratory technician in public and private companies and as a researcher. Trained on ISO 17025:2018 standard and work experience in quality control of cosmetics.
Key Account Manager
Background education on life sciences.
Experienced key account, with a strong knowledge in global client account management, including some of the major retailers in Europe and global food companies in North and South America and Asia.
In the last 6 years she has been the contact point for NGS focused companies. Currently, she is managing a large client’s network, mostly for DNA based services on food authenticity, quality and safety. She also has high experience in supporting clients on food crises management (e.g. products recall).
Junior Laboratory Technician
Graduation in Biotechnology and Master degree in Biological and Chemical Engineering from Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal. Experienced laboratory technician in molecular biology, skilled in DNA and RNA-based methods (DNA and RNA extraction, PCR and Real-time PCR) and ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay). Professional background as a laboratory project manager and as a researcher. Previous working experience on molecular biology diagnosis in public institution.
Administrative Office Manager
Degree in Sociology of Work, from Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, Universidade de Lisboa.
Her professional experience has been focused on the Administrative area, giving support to the financial and logistics departments in several sectors of activity. Her central activity has been the organization and implementation of administrative processes with a view to its optimization, in which she has several years of experience.
In the food area since 2014, she has been in contact with stakeholders from all over the world, having diversified her functions. In this context, she has been actively participated in the search for new business opportunities for companies where she collaborates.
Using targeted and untargeted DNA-based methods, WeNou provides services to answer the main questions related with authenticity and safety of food and feed products, as described below:
Identification by sequencing
Some specific genomic regions are recognized for their identification potential, as each species present unique DNA sequence, allowing to differentiate them from other similar species. WeNou worklow for species identification uses the genes that are recognized as appropriate markers according to public available scientific information. Namely:
- Mitochondrial genes COI, cytB, 12S and 16S for animals;
- Nuclear ITS2 and chloroplastidial genes , and intergenic spacers for plants;
- rRNA 16S gene and rRNA 18S genes for bacteria and fungi respectively.
These gene sequences are available in several public databases and are recommended for identification (e,g, BOLD database). Additionally, these public databases also contain a large lists of primer sequences published in scientific papers, which can be used for in-house species identification schemes.
Identification in complex samples by NGS
This approach is based on Next Generation Sequencing technology, a highly powerful methodology to access food and food fraud by species substitution or addition of undeclared components. It is applicable to complex and/or processed samples (e.g. meat balls, lasagnas, pizzas, herb mixes,) etc. By the end of the analysis it is possible to get a list of species of a certain group (meat, fish, bacteria, plants, etc.). The number of species that can be identified is virtually unlimited.
Identification in pure samples by Sanger
This identification approach is based on Sanger sequencing and is applicable to identify the species that composes a pure sample of, meat, fish, plant, bacteria etc (e.g. meat steak, plant leaves, bacteria pure culture, etc.). The result is the scientific name of the species that composes the sample. It is mostly applicable to detect fraud by species substitution in single-species products. Like NGS, Sanger sequencing takes advantage from the existence of huge databases and the number of species that can be identified is virtually unlimited.
Detection by real-time PCR
A targeted approach requires the previous definition of the species that is intended to search for. It is applicable to assess the presence or absence of the defined species in a food or feed sample. This species may be a pathogen, an allergen, a GMO or any undeclared and restricted ingredients, like pork, soy, etc. The result is expressed as positive or negative for the target organism. Can be applied to any food or feed sample.
WeNou team has all the necessary knowledge to work on custom approaches to give answer to the specific needs of its clients. These projects may focus a broad range of topics, from, e.g. food authenticity to microbiome assessment.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.