Fundamentals of food chemistry (2019/2020)

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

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laboratorio 1 I semestre Gianni Zoccatelli

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to address General aspects of Food Chemistry, which relate to the different classes of substances that make up a food and how they interact with each other and are transformed by processing, starting from macro- and micro-nutrients, then passing to the molecules that characterize the organoleptic sphere. A substantial part will also cover the use of specific substances for technological purposes (eg food additives).
The various topics will be tackled in order to highlight possible food security issues that are increasingly relevant to both the producer and the consumer.
At the end of the course the student will be able to understand the rationale behind the composition of a food and will have the ability to apply the acquired knowledge to analyze and evaluate the quality of the raw materials and the finished product according to the processing and conservation processes applied.

The proposed laboratory experiences (1 credit) 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.


The topics that will be covered in the 5 credits of Frontal Didactics are the following:

- 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.

Assessment methods and criteria

To pass the exam, students (both attending and not attending the lectures) will have to demonstrate:
- To know the chemical characteristics of the different classes of substances that make up a food and the function that they have within the system
or the modifications that they undergo during processing and preservation
or the main approaches to their analysis
- know how to apply such knowledge in order to solve application problems
- within one week before the exam, the student must also send 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 of the experimental part will contribute for 15% on the final vote.

Reference books
Activity Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
teoria AA.VV. Current Protocols in Food Analytical Chemistry John Wiley and Sons Inc. 2001
laboratorio AA.VV. Current Protocols in Food Analytical Chemistry John Wiley and Sons Inc. 2001