FOOD AND NUTRITIONAL BIOCHEMISTRY
Learning outcomes of the course unit
During the course, students will be given the systematic knowledge of digestion, absorption and metabolism of nutrients in the human body, as well as hormone regulation and integration of metabolic pathways. The imparted knowledge will then be devoted to: micronutrients, biochemical bases of the main pathological states related to food and nutrition, biochemical aspects regarding the technological use of enzymes in food industry, the mechanisms of action of the main pesticides used in agriculture and biochemical and molecular biology methods dedicated to foods.
Basic courses of Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Course contents summary
The macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and lipids) and their metabolism in the human body.
Properties that distinguish the major macronutrients with nutritional role. Enzymatic degradation of macronutrients in the digestive tract and key steps of their metabolism. High energy compounds that mediate the flow of energy from nutrients to the cells. Hormonal regulation and integration of metabolism.
The water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins and their mechanism of action.
Molecular bases of pathological states correlated to food and nutrition: insulin resistance; diabetes mellitus; hypercholesterolemia; metabolic syndrome; physiological and pathological ketogenesis; metabolism and toxicity of ethyl alcohol; celiac disease.
Enzyme technology in the food industry: chymosin, amylases, lactase, aminoacylase, lysozyme, key enzymes of alcoholic and lactic fermentations. Immobilization of enzymes and enzyme reactors.
Mechanism of action of the main pesticides used in the agro-food sector (herbicides and insecticides) and their environmental impact.
Biochemical and molecular biology methodologies used in the food sector for the analysis of macromolecules and xenobiotics. Outline of methods for obtaining GMO plants resistant to glyphosate and producing toxins with insecticidal activity.
Ugo Leuzzi, Ersilia Bellocco, Davide Barreca. Biochimica della nutrizione. Zanichelli, Bologna.
Introduzione alla Biochimica di Lehninger, Zanichelli, Bologna.
Oral lectures, with the use of audiovisual means. There will also be some visits in the biochemical laboratory, during which students can attend the use of basic instrumentation for biochemical investigations of potential interest to food analysis.
Assessment methods and criteria
The acquired knowledge and the ability to use it in practice will be verified through an oral examination. This trial will also evaluate the ability of students to present clearly and appropriately ideas and analysis.