Food chemistry (2018/2019)

Course code
Gianni Zoccatelli
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff Timetable
teoria 5 II semestre Gianni Zoccatelli

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laboratorio 1 II semestre Gianni Zoccatelli

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Learning outcomes

By assuming a basic knowledge of food chemistry, the course analyzes, from a chemical and biolog-ical point of view, a series of substances that could positively or negatively affect human health. Such substances can be naturally present in the raw materials or represent contaminants, and undergo modifications by food processing and storage. It will also be analyzed how processing can generate a variety of substances that can interact with the organism. The mechanisms by which all these sub-stances will influence the well-being of human organism will be studied by evaluating case-by-case the bioaccessibility and the bioavailability of the same substances and the methodological approaches to assess these properties. Finally, different approaches and technologies for the stabilization (i.e. encapsulation) of most nutraceutical molecules with the aim to produce enriched functional foods and ingredients will be presented.
At the end of the course the student will be able to understand the complexity of the relationships that exist between the chemical nature and the biological activity towards the human organism of many of the substances present in our diet as a function of the processes of transformation and conservation of foods. He will possess the knowledge to intervene with chemical and (bio)technological approaches to prevent or facilitate the chemical reactions that underlie the formation of these substances in order to improve food safety and the nutritional and technological quality of food.


the five credits will cover the following aruments:
Introduction to the course.
Plant raw material bioactives: carotenoids, glucosinolates, alkaloids, alfa amylase inhibitors, saponins, polyphenols (enzymatic browning).
Contaminations: Mycotoxins and pesticides.
Focus on the antioxidant potency of food molecules and techniques dedicated to its quantification.

Modifications induced by thermal processing.
General introductions.
Effects on starch, carotenoids, polyphenols.
Maillard reaction and production of advance glycated end-point products (AGEs). Effects of AGEs on human health.

Oxidation of lipids
During heating (frying)
During storage

Contamination of food by heavy metals

Materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. Safety concerns and approaches to quantification

Fiber: definition and positive impact on human health

Micro and nano-encapsulation approaches for active molecules stabilization

The proposed laboratories (1 credit) are designed to give the student an example of study of the biological activity of some enzyme inhibitors acknowledged as anti-nutritionals, and one of the possibility of using fiber polysaccharides as materials for the development of microencapsulated nutraceutical molecules (i.e. carotenoids and anthocyanins)

Assessment methods and criteria

To pass the exam students must demonstrate:
- To know the chemical characteristics and the mechanisms that underlie the biological activity of the various substances present in the diet presented during the course and the modifications that they undergo during the transformation and conservation
- to be able to apply this knowledge in order to improve food safety and the nutritional and technological quality of food by solving application problems

The student must also send to the professor one week before the appeal, a report on one of the experiences seen in the laboratory that will be evaluated

The test will be oral. The result of the report will affect 15% of the final vote.

Reference books
Activity Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
teoria Jan Pokorny, Nedyalka Yanishlieva, Michael Gordon Antioxidants in food CRC Press 2001
teoria Belitz HD, Grosch W, Schieberle P Food Chemistry Springer   978-3-540-69933-0
laboratorio Patrizia Cappelli e Vanna Vannucchi Principi di chimica degli alimenti Zanichelli 2016 978-88-08-62123-8