Biochemistry of food, nutrition, and metabolic diseases

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course provides biochemical knowledge suitable for understanding the nutritional properties of food, with a particular focus on the starting materials and on food processing, acquiring a biochemical view of food allergy and intolerance. Moreover, a modern vision of nutritional biochemistry will be presented by addressing the following topics: modulation of metabolism; control and modulation of enzymes; fundamentals of signal transduction; modulation of gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels; enzymatic defects and related pathologies. On this basis, the biochemical aspects of specific nutritional and bioactive compounds, their direct anabolic/catabolic functions, and their role in activation of specific metabolic pathway will be discussed. Furthermore, will be studied the biochemical aspects related with the main metabolic diseases that may induce the development of chronic diseases.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, the student will be able to understand the role of food components in modulating biochemical process and metabolic events within cells; familiarize with the biochemical aspects of food preparation and on their relationships to consumers' wellness; ability to evaluate of the various types of information provided by the methodological approaches used in this field.
Course syllabus and organization

Unique edition

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
UD_1 Stefania Iametti
- Physical denaturation of protein in food processing. Formation and disappearance of food biological active compounds and process markers
- Limited proteolysis: enzymatic treatments of food, peptide and protein modification formation.
- Molecular marker of quality: protein and genetic markers.
- Food and micro-nutrient biochemistry
- Food-derived xenobiotics and their metabolism
- Main food toxins and their mechanism
- Control of gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level; nutrigenomics
- Fundamental of signal transduction: messengers, receptors, second messengers and their mode of action
- Biochemical aspects of the function of specific nutrients and bioactive compounds: anabolic and catabolic functions
- Biochemical aspects of the function of specific food compounds/contaminants in food: role in the cellular metabolism
- Food allergens: molecular determinants of allergenicity; biochemical basis of the allergenic response
- Antigen/antibody recognition and its relevance to food safety
- Food intolerance
- Strategy for the production and control of hypo-allergenic and improved-tolerance foods
- Molecular mechanism of oxidative stress at cellular level
- Role of specific food compounds in protection against oxidative stress
- Food mycotoxins: origin, properties, metabolism
- Molecular aspects of inflammatory events and of their modulation
- Role of macro- and micronutrients in cellular degeneration

UD_2 Riccardo Ghidoni
- Digestion and nutrient uptake: a biochemical vision.
- Nutrition and energy balance. Controlling basal metabolism.
- Diabetes and fastening. Ketogenesis and gluconeogenesis
- Lipoproteins. Dyslipidemia.
- Atherogenesis and cardiovascular risk
- Alcohol consumption
- G6Pdh deficency and hemolysis
- Galactosemia
- Phenylkenonuria
- Vitamins: hypo- and hypervitaminosis
- Discussion of case studies
Prerequisites for admission
Knowledge of the structure and of the physical/chemical properties of simple biological systems. Knowledge of the macrostructural features of biological material.
Teaching methods
Formal classes (2 h each), with ample use of graphical material, available to students through the ARIEL website.

Lab classes (4 h each, UD_1), based mostly on individual laboratory activities.
Slides used for classes will be immediatily available on the ARIEL website, along with any additional material (original papers, limks to useful websites)

Reference textbooks

UD_1 Prof.ssa Stefania Iametti
Campbell/Farrel, Biochimica, EdiSES;
Arienti, Basi Molecolari della Nutrizione, Piccin;
Avigliano/Rossi, Biochemical Aspects of Human Nutrition, Transworld Research Network;
Harper Biochimica, McGraw-Hill.

UD_2 Prof. Riccardo Ghidoni
J.W. Baynes, M.H. Dominiczak - Biochimica per le discipline biomediche - Elsevier Ed.
F. Salvatore - Biochimica Umana - Idelson Gnocchi Ed.
U.Leuzzi, E.Bellocco, D.Barreca - Biochimica della nutrizione - Zanichelli Ed
Assessement methods and criteria
Written exam with both open questions and multiple choice questions

Scores will be assessed according to appropriate elements in the following list:
- knowledge and understanding of course topics
- ability to elaborate course-related concepts
- critical assessment of topics
- communication skills
BIO/10 - BIOCHEMISTRY - University credits: 9
Practicals: 8 hours
Lessons: 68 hours