Fundamentals of food chemistry (2016/2017)

Course code
Gianni Zoccatelli
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff Timetable
teoria 5 I sem. Gianni Zoccatelli
laboratorio 1 I sem. Gianni Zoccatelli

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The course aims to address specific aspects of Food Chemistry, with particular attention to the problem of food security, more and more topical for both the producer and the consumer. In this sense the various topics will be addressed both from the chemical point of view and nutrition, stressing the most relevant aspects of the research, particularly the detection and handling of substances that can cause problems to the health of the consumer.
The proposed laboratory experiences are designed to give the student an overview of the main techniques used to analyze the quality of some of the major classes of molecules present in food: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and polyphenols.


Class teaching
- Carbohydrates: mono, oligo and poly -saccharides in food. nutritional, organoleptic, functional. technological and nutritional effects of heat treatments, caramelization, Maillard reactions and Strecker.
- Lipids: nutritional, organoleptic, functional of the saponifiable and unsaponifiable fractions. The emulsions. Phenomena of lipid degradation: auto-oxidation and rancidity.
- Amino acids, peptides and proteins: organoleptic nutritional properties, functional. Protein degradation due to the technological processes. seed storage proteins: wheat. Meat protein.
- Polyphenols: chemistry and classification; antioxidant and biological activity potential. Enzymatic browning
- Vitamins. Physiology of absorption and nutrition issues. Effects of technological treatments on vitamins. biological activity and bioavailability. Overview of the salient features for each vitamin.
- Food additives and processing aids. Legislation, issues related to the possible toxicity, cases and operating limits. Insight: dyes, preservatives, antioxidants, sweeteners, fat mimetics
- Sensory aspects of food chemistry: color, taste and aroma.

Laboratory experiences

1. analysis of carbohydrates in the fruit juices
- Phenol sulfuric assay
- Hplc for the dosage of specific monosaccharides and oligosaccarides
- TLC of monosaccharides

2. Lipids. Analysis of the quality of edible oils stressed by UV radiation.
- saponification
- Quantification of the peroxide
- Quantification of the of p-anisidine value
- Separation in TLC

3. Polyphenols. Analyses performed on commercially available fruit juices.
- Determination by the Folin Ciocalteu method
- Analysis of antioxidant potential by ABTS
- Dose of vitamin C

4. Analysis of the proteins made of raw cereal protein matrix (flour) or cooked (pasta) and microalgae (spirulina)
- Mineralization of protein arrays and nitrogen determination by Nessler.
- bicinchoninic acid assay.
- Separation of cereal proteins by SDS-PAGE

Assessment methods and criteria

oral examination

Reference books
Activity Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
teoria Cabras – Martelli; Piccin Editore. “Chimica degli alimenti” Piccin 2004
teoria Belitz HD, Grosch W, Schieberle P Food Chemistry Springer   978-3-540-69933-0
teoria T.P. Coultate La chimica degli alimenti Zanichelli  
laboratorio Cabras – Martelli; Piccin Editore. “Chimica degli alimenti” Piccin 2004
laboratorio Belitz HD, Grosch W, Schieberle P Food Chemistry Springer   978-3-540-69933-0
laboratorio T.P. Coultate La chimica degli alimenti Zanichelli