the aim of the course is to teach the students how to approach the problem of the presence of the natural
substances in foods, in particular: how to extract, analyse and characterise the
natural products in food and how to find the scientific demonstrations of their
eventual biological activity, specially in relation to health claims, toxicity and
Course contents summary
The course is composed of several parts:
Part 1- Secondary metabolism: biosynthetic pathways and principal mechanisms of
reaction ( alkylation, rearrangements, aldol and Claisen reactions, Schiff's base
formation, transamination, decarboxylation, ox-redox reactions, oxydative coupling
of phenols, glycosylation,etc.). Methods for studying the biosynthesis.
Part 2- The acetate pathway: fatty acids and polyketides. Unsaturated fatty acids
(essential fatty acids). Aromatic polyketides, phenols.
Part 3- The Shikimate pathway: aromatic amino acids, cinnamic acids, lignanes,
coumarines, flavonoids, isoflavonoids. Biological activity.
Part 4- The mevalonate pathway: terpenes (monoterpenes, iridoids,
sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, sterols, sesterpenes, tetraterpenes, carotenoids).
Part 5- Alkaloids: alkaloids derived from ornithine, lysine, nicotinic acids, tyrosine,
tryptophan, anthranilic acid, histidine. Purinic alkaloids, glycoalkaloids.
Part 6- Mycotoxins (aflatoxins, ochratoxin, patulin, trichothecenes, zearalenone):
biogenesis, toxicity, methods of extraction and detection
1)Paul.M.Devick- Chemistry, biosynthesis and bioactivity of natural substances.Piccin
2) Slides contents and publications
The lessons are made by using power point presentations, transparencies and black board
demonstrations. Discussion of scientific papers and of the european regulations are also added.