Health-related food and gut microbiota (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Giovanna Felis
Giovanna Felis
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre dal Mar 1, 2021 al Jun 11, 2021.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to deepen the basics, the study methodologies and the most recent advances in the use of microorganisms for food and human health. The knowledge about prebiotics and first-generation probiotics (identities, formulations, action mechanisms and associated health claims) will be deepened, and then the vision will be extended to the intestinal microbiota and its composition, in relation to the well-being of man: the intestinal microbiota constitutes both an important intervention target and a source of microorganisms with beneficial activities. Finally, the most recent developments in the field of new generation probiotics will be discussed. At the end of the course the student will be able to understand the relationship between food, microorganisms and health and will have the skills to play an active role in the technological transfer of scientific knowledge for the innovation of the health food / functional market.


1. Introduction: basic concepts and definitions, health claims, regulatory aspects.
2. Prebiotics: chemical compounds, action mechanisms, health claims.
3. First-generation probiotics: definition and taxonomic classification, safety aspects, action mechanisms, formulations and health claims.
4. The human intestinal microbiota: study methodologies, composition and physiological roles. The microbiota as a target for intervention through diet. The intestinal microbiota as a source of microorganisms with beneficial properties.
5. New generation probiotics: beneficial effects, safety.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Battistini Pedrazzi Prampolini Curare con il cibo Gli alimenti funzionali nella dietetica e nella dietoterapia (Edizione 1) Carocci Faber 2012 9788874666263
Arienti G. Le basi molecolari della nutrizione (Edizione 4) Piccin 2015 978-88-299-2698-5

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination: interview, also starting from the discussion of a scientific paper or a product on the market (indicated, if necessary, by the teacher). To pass the exam, students must demonstrate that they have acquired knowledge of the different topics covered, and that they know how to connect the information and apply them to solve simple examples of application problems.