Biotechnological processes for the production of natural compounds

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The objective of the course is the study of organic natural compounds, their growing impact on industrial, pharmaceutical, nutritional and cosmetic fields.
The principal metabolic pathways yielding organic natural compounds will be described, followed by the processes to obtain them from natural sources of different origins (inferior and superior organisms) . Laboratory and industrial processes will be described; the techniques to extract and purify pure organic natural compounds through sophisticated and updated methodologies will be detailed, including the most advanced analytical and spectroscopic techniques
Expected learning outcomes
Students will be educated to recognize, extract, purify and analise the most common organic natural products and to evaluate the most appropriate methodologies to obtain them from natural sources.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Primary metabolism: Structural features and reactivity of compounds belonging to primary metabolism (aminoacids, carbohydrates, lipids).
Secondary metabolism: bioactive compounds belonging to secondary metabolism are described according to their applied and industrial value. Examples are chosen to describe the three fundamental biogenetic pathways common to all living organisms.
Description of the most common processes to isolate and characterize secondary metabolites from natural sources.
Natural products identification: main common features and differences in the identification of natural products will be described, i.e. how to detect a potentially useful therapeutic activity in nature. Natural products extraction, isolation and purification: main common features and differences in extraction, isolation and purification to obtain natural products from higher or lower producers will be described, i.e. how to treat fermentation broths of lower organisms to extract and purify lipophilic or hydrophilic substances. The main analytical and preparative techniques to purify an active principle from a complex crude extract will also be described and discussed.
Structural determination of natural products: structural peculiar features of natural products (i.e., stereocomplexity, low N-content, peculiar physic-chemical properties) will be described and discussed. Most performing and sensitive, up-to-date analytical techniques, i.e. NMR, HPLC-MS and X-rays, will be introduced, showing how they can help in the structural determination of complex natural products.
Primary importance will be given to natural products exploited as hits of pharmaceutical, nutritional, cosmetic value.
Prerequisites for admission
The arguments described in the course need the knowledge of fundamentals of organic chemistry, in particular the reactivity of chemical functional groups and organic stereochemistry; of the fundamental of analitycal chemistry, biochemistry and cellular biology
Teaching methods
front lessons
Teaching Resources
· P. M. Dewick, "Medicinal Natural Products. A Biosynthetic Approach, 3nd Ed., Wiley, Chichester, 2009.
· SD. Sarker, Z. latif, A.I. Gray "Natural Products Isolation", 2nd edition Humana Press, 2006
· I.E. Orhan "Biotechnological production of plant metabolites" Bentham Books, 2012
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students will sustain a written examination, addressed to evaluate the basic knowledge of organic natural products and biosyntheses
CHIM/06 - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Verotta Luisella
on appointment