The course aims to provide students with skills on the nature, characteristics, and modifications of proteins that characterize foods of animal origin and their interactions with other food constituents, also in relation to its overall quality. The course also aims to provide students with knowledge of the physiology, ecology and genetics of pathogenic microorganisms and hygiene indicators linked to the supply chains of food products of animal origin.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the students will be able to understand the molecular basis of the quality of products of animal origin, also in relation to the transformation interventions aimed at improving safety and their nutritional value. Students will also know how to prevent, control or use microorganisms in the production process to ensure the safety and quality of food of animal origin. At the end of the course, the students will also be able to design and organize a hygiene and quality control system in accordance with current legislation.
Lesson period: First semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
Classroom activities (prof. Iametti) Fundamentals of animal metabolism Muscle cell metabolism in various food-relevant organisms Information flux among tissues Nitrogenous metabolism and its regulation Origin and biosynthesis of proteins and lipids Structural features of individual components and their relationship to functional properties Molecular physiology of the muscle The muscle/meat conversion Apoptotic and non-apoptotic pathways Methodologies for assessing the molecular events in the muscle/meat conversion Structural modification of macromolecules and their relevance to meat quality Micronutrients in animal-derived foods Digestibility of animal-derived foods and factors that may affect it Analysis of case studies Egg proteins: their properties and their modification upon storage and processing Biochemical markers of egg quality Bioactive components in animal-derived foods: nutritional and anti-nutritional components; food allergens of animal origin. Lab and practical classes (prof. Iametti) Spectroscopic methods for evaluating meat ripening Approaches for assessing apoptotic and non-apoptotic degradation pathways. Literature analysis.
Classroom activities (prof. Foschino) Hygienic and microbiological aspects of animal-derived food products. Role of microorganisms in animal-derived food products: pathogens, hygienic markers, spoilage microorganisms - Food safety criteria - Process hygiene criteria - Techniques for molecular identification of microorganisms. Phenotypic and genetic typing of bacterial strains - Health risks related to parasitosis from helminths and protozoa. Infection caused by Salmonella enterica, Shiga-Toxin Escherichia coli, Yersinia enterocolitica, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus and enterotoxins, Campylobacter, Vibrio cholera, Clostridium botulinum -Health risks related to viruses and TSE. Microbiology of fresh meats: pork and beef, chicken and game. Microbiology of eggs. Microbiology of cured meats and sausages. Microbiology of fish, crustaceans and mollusks. Microbiology of meat from insects. Starters: types and selection; role of microbial cultures in food processing.
Prerequisites for admission
Knowledge of the main metabolic pathways, of the structure of biological macromolecules, and of microbial physiology/ecology.
Formal classes (2 h each), with ample use of graphical material, available to students through the ARIEL website. Lab classes (4 h each), based mostly on individual laboratory activities.
Original slides from the ARIEL website Scientific papers/reviews on specific topics Reference textbooks: JD Rawn Biochimica vol secondo, McGraw-Hill (only for the structure and physiology of the muscle)
Assessement methods and criteria
Written mid-course test, with final oral exam. Scores will be assessed according to: - knowledge and understanding of course topics - ability to elaborate course-related concepts - critical assessment of topics - communication skills