The educational objective of the course is to provide students the basic knowledge required to understand at a molecular level the properties of biological materials, in terms of structure, interactions among components, and the transformations occurring in mteabolism. The course will provide students the basic knowledge required to understand at a molecular level the properties of biological materials, in terms of structure, interactions among components, and the transformations occurring in mteabolism. Moreover, the course will provide students the basic knowledge on how individual food components - with a particular focus on macromolecules - relate to the quality and safety of foods, also with reference to the peculiar needs of specific consumers.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will understand the main features of biological components in terms of their structure and of their role in metabolism. The students will be able to define the main aspects of the metabolism, its regulation, also in terms of their relevance to human nutrition. At the end of the course the student will have acquired a general understanding of the molecular issues and of the molecular interactions that are relevant to quality and safety issues in foods.
Unit 1: General Biochemistry First part: Organization in biological systems: flow and interconversion of energy, materials, and information. Role and functions of water towards small molecules and macromolecules: water as a solvent and as a structuring agent. Proteins: composition and primary structure, motifs; high-order structures: secondary structure elements, domains and tertiary structure. Structural basis and physiological relevance of quaternary structures. Functional and structural relevance of post-translational modifications. Structural and storage polysaccharides; glycoproteins and glycopeptides. Lipids: classes, organizzation, functions; lipoproteins; biological membranes and cross-membrane transport. Enzymes and catalysis, regulation of enzyme activity. Second part: Thermodynamics in biology: energy interconversion, high-energy bonds, coupled reactions. Metabolism: glycolysis and fermentation; Krebs cycle and mitochondrial electron transport; lipid metabolism; nitrogen metabolism; anaplerotic routes and, gluconeogenesis; metabolic interconversions; food catabolism; nitrogen excretion. Metabolic diseases: diabetes, chetosis, genetic-based pathologies Integrating and regulating metabolic pathways Third part: Biochemical aspects of the information flow in biological systems. Nucleic acids: structure and function, information transfer.
Unit 2: Food Biochemistry First part: Food macromolecules. Molecular approaches for investigating food macromolecules and their process-induced modifications. Role and meaning of interactions among macromolecules and macro/micro components in food. Structural modifications of proteins consequent to physical treatments. Structural modifications of proteins upon chemical treatments Structural modifications of proteins induced by enzymatic treatments. Structural modifications of protein in multi-phase systems. Second part: Biochemical basis of food quality and safety. Properties of macromolecules relevant to the definition of food quality and safety (antinutritional factors; allergens; sources of food intolerance). Analytical and nutritional significance of process-induced modifications; molecular determinants of the shelf-life of foods. Fundamental and applications of molecular-based approaches to food quality issues.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of chemistry, biology, and organic chemistry
Classes and labs are split among units (one unit per semester).
Formal classes (2 h each), with ample use of graphical material, and may use dedicated websites. Slides and suitable links are timely made available to students through the ARIEL Unimi website.
Lab classes (4 h each) are based mostly on individual laboratory activities. In a few cases, classroom demonstrations may be used. Topics of lab activities include: - Thermal inactivation of enzymes - Use of enzymes in food analyses
Slides from classes will be made available in timely fashion on the ARIEL website.
Suggested textbooks (units 1 & 2) Campbell/Farrel, Biochimica, EdiSES Nelson & Cox, Introduzione alla biochimica di Lehninger, Zanichelli
Further reading (units 1 & 2) Ritter, Fondamenti di biochimica, Zanichelli Voet, Voet, Pratt, Fondamenti di biochimica, Zanichelli
Further reading (unit 2) MCB Bonaccorsi di Patti, R. Contestabile, ML Di Salvo Metodologie Biochimiche, Zanichelli
Assessment methods and Criteria
Written exams. Preliminary registration to the exam session through the UNIMIA system is mandatory.
Students will be evaluated as for: - knowledge and understanding of individual topics - ability to further elaborate concepts - the comprehensive and critical vision of topics - their communication skills DSA students and students with disabilities are invited to inform the teacher by e-mail at least ten days before the exam date in order to define the possible individual actions. The e-mail should also send in cc to: email@example.com (for DSA students) or firstname.lastname@example.org (for students with disabilities). Currently - due to the COVID19 emergency - exams are in colloquial form, and are carried out online by using the Teams platform. Any changes will be announced on the ARIEL platform.