Chemistry of natural organic compounds and foods

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The educational goal of integrated teaching is to provide basic notions related to organic substances of natural origin and foods with health properties. The first module, concerning natural substances, provides a description of the most important classes of substances, which are framed on the basis of the main biogenetic pathways and their own chemical reactivity. The second module, concerning foods, takes into consideration the composition of the main foods, emphasizing the characteristics and biological activity of the most interesting components.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, the students will know the composition of different foods, especially with regards to the most significant components from a health point of view, also considering the possible transformations induced by technological treatments and conservation. They will also know some issues related to quality and safety, in particular with regard to the possible presence of contaminants, the possible alterations, the main sophistications and the correct use of food additives. Students will also become familiar with the chemical structures of the main classes of natural substances and the chemical mechanisms constituting the basis of their biosynthesis. The laboratory tutorials have the objective to provide the students with the necessary familiarity on the main techniques of extraction, purification and analysis, in order to enable them to independently undertake studies and applications in wide interdisciplinary contexts, both in research and professional fields.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
If necessary, the lessons will take place on Microsoft Teams in synchronous mode, at established times, and will be recorded and available on the platform itself in asynchronous mode. Information on how to access Microsoft Teams lessons and other instructional instructions will be uploaded to the course's ARIEL website: it is recommended to consult it regularly. In the event that, taking into account the evolution of the epidemic and compliance with the relevant regulations, it should be possible to carry out activities in the classroom, students will be promptly informed via ARIEL. In any case, the lessons will be recorded and available online.
Prerequisites for admission
The integrated course is aimed at students who have passed the exams of General and Inorganic Chemistry and of Organic Chemistry.
The course requires the student to already have knowledge of the characteristics of organic and biological molecules. Previous Laboratory experiences, even if not necessary, will allow the student to better face the exercises of 1 CFU.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final mark, which is recorded through the electronic procedure, is the result of a weighted average between the marks of the two modules relating to two written itinere checks that can also be passed separately.
Module 1. In the written test, the student will have two hours to answer six questions on the topics of the course, including the practical part of the laboratory. Each answer will have a different score in relation to the difficulty (from 3 to 7 for a total of 30 for the six questions). The verification is passed when the score is not less than 18.
Module 2. In the written test, the student has 40 minutes available. The task consists of 35 short queries true-false. One point is substracted for each error. The verification is passed when the score is not inferior than 18.
Chemistry or natural organic compounds
Course syllabus
TOPIC n.1 (1 CFU) Main reaction mechanisms involved in hte synthesis of secondary metabolites: alkylation, transposition, condensation, redox reactions, oxidative coupling in phenols, glycosylation reactions. Carbohydrates. Definition and classification.Monosaccharides. Aldoses e chetoses, configuration, D and L series. Emiacetalic cyclic structures, Fischer projections, Haworth formulae, conformation of pyranosides. Mutarotation. Main monosaccharides: glucose, fructose, ribose. Reactions of monosaccharides: formation of esters and ethers, oxydation e riduction, reactions with amines. Formation of O- and N- glycosides. Examples of pharmacologically relevant glucosides. Hydrolysis of glucosides. Vitamine C, aminosugars.
Disaccharides. Structure and property of the main disaccharides: maltose, cellobiose, lactose, saccharose. Sweeteners. Structrure and function of the main polisaccharides: starch, cellulose, glycogen, gums, cyclodextrins.
TOPIC n.2 (1 CFU) The biogenetic pathways of acetate: fatty acids and polyketides. Lipids. Definition and classification. Fatty acids and triacylglicerols. Preparation of natural soaps. Micelle formation. Synthetic detergents. Phospholipids: structure and biological importance. Prostaglandins and steroids. Poliketides: biological activity. Examples of biosynthesis: emodin, hypericin, usnic acid, griseofulvin. Sinthessi of aromatic poliketides, simple phenols, antraquinones. Tetracyclines. Macrolide antibiotics.
TOPIC n.3 (1 CFU) The mevalonate and methylerytritol-phosphate biogenetic pathways: terpenoids and sterols. Terpenes: classification and biosynthesis, chemical properties. Steroids: structure and stereochemistry of plant and animal sterols, steroidal saponins, phytosterols. Examemples of biosynthesis: tujone, pinene, menthol, thymol. The biogenetic pathway of shikimic acid. Biosynthesis of phenols, poliphenols and phenylpropanoids. Cinnamic acids and their transfomraiton products (estragol, eugenol, anetol, etc). Reactions of oxidative coupling: lignans, neolignans e lignin. Benzoic acids, coumarins and their derivatives. Furanocoumarines: photodynamic activity, biosynthesis of psoralene. Flavonoids and isoflavones. Terpenoid quinones . Natural colorants and elements of tinctorial chemistry.
TOPIC n.4 (1 CFU) Aminoacids. Structure and configuration. Behaviour of aminoacids in solution: acidity and basicity. Isolectric point. Nucleci acids: Composition, structure of nucleosides and nucleotides. Structure nucleic acids. Three dimensional structureof the double helix.
Alkaloids. Biological amines and their activity. Pyrrolidin and tropa alkaloids: hyosciamin, cocaine, atropine. Alkaloids isoquinolinic: reticuline, papaverine, morfine, codeine and berberine. Pyridine alkaloids: biosynthesis of nicotinic acid, nicotine and anabasine. Indole alkaloids: psylocibine, lysergic acid.
TOPIC n.5 (1 CFU ): Laboratory tutorials, dealing with the main extraction, isolation and identification of natural organic substances.
Teaching methods
frontal lessons with slides (slides available on the web-site ARIEL)
Teaching Resources
P.M. Dewick: Chimica, biosintesi e bioattività delle sostanze naturali- Piccini (Ed. Italiana).
Organic Chemistry text book at university level, for instance:
W. H. Brown: Introduzione alla Chimica Organica, EdiSES (with exercise text book) J. Mc Murry: Fondamenti di Chimica Organica, ed., Zanichelli
Chemistry of healthy foods
Course syllabus
· Organic nutrients, simple sugars, polysaccharides, amino acids, proteins, lipids, minor components, macro and microelements, anti-nutritional factors, main analytical determinations.
· Thermal stability of the main nutrients and changes induced by production technologies, toxicological consequences.
· Additives: regulations and use criteria, toxicological problems. Main classes: preservatives, antioxidants, gelling agents, thickeners, emulsifiers, sugar substitutes, dyes, fat substitutes.
· Chemical contamination of foods of natural and / or anthropogenic origin: heavy metals, PAHs, PCBs, polychlorinated dibenzoxoxins / furans, agrochemicals, mycotoxins.
· Lipids: composition, functional properties of polyunsaturated fatty acids, hydrolytic and oxidative rancidity, olive oil, preparation, refining process, main seed oils for food use. Analytical problems.
· Cereals: wheat composition, characteristics of the main polysaccharides, preparation of bread and pasta. Other cereals: rice, rye, corn, oats, barley. Pseudocereals.
· Legumes: composition, nutritional characteristics, analytical problems.
· Honey: composition, nutritional characteristics, analytical problems.
· Fruits and vegetables: chemical composition, production technology, health properties.
· Milk: composition, nutritional characteristics, production technology, analytical problems.
· Meat: composition, nutritional characteristics, conservation methods.
· Fish: composition, nutritional characteristics, conservation methods.
· Eggs: chemical composition, health properties.
· HACCP: principles of the system and food safety
Teaching methods
frontal lessons with slides (slides available on the web-site ARIEL)
Teaching Resources
- La chimica e gli alimenti. edited by L. Mannina, M. Daglia, A. Ritieni. CEA Casa Editrice Ambrosiana (2020).
- Chimica degli alimenti edited by P. Cabras and A. Martelli, Piccin Editore, 2004 (in Italian).
The slides of the lessons, notes, and other scientific papers provided by the teacher are available on the Ariel platform.
Chemistry of healthy foods
CHIM/10 - FOOD CHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Chemistry or natural organic compounds
CHIM/06 - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY - University credits: 5
Single bench laboratory practical: 16 hours
Lessons: 32 hours
Professor: Ragg Enzio Maria
Professor: Ragg Enzio Maria
Turno 1
Professor: Ragg Enzio Maria
Turno 2
Professor: Ragg Enzio Maria