Chemistry of Natural Processes and Technologies for the Environment

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course will provide students with a basic understanding of the chemical fundamentals of the organic natural products and of their role as biologically active compounds in the interrelationship among living organisms to facilitate their communication in and with the environment.
This multidisciplinary course is focused on the impact of natural products and xenobiotics in the context of human and animal health, nutrition and agroecology.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, the student will acquire a broad knowledge of the chemistry of life in terms of species adaptation to the environment. He/she will also acquire the basis of the application of technologies for the environment and the impact they have on health, nutrition and agroecology.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Teaching methods
Asynchronous lessons will be made available (videolessons consisting of recording the teacher's desktop with audio commentary), organized to cover the topics of each lesson of the course. The recorded lessons will be made available to students on the ARIEL teaching platform throughout the semester and uploaded to the site according to the teaching schedule. Furthermore, synchronous meetings with students will be organized periodically, using the Microsoft Teams platform, to provide clarifications and insights on teaching topics and answer students' questions.

Learning assessment procedures and assessment criteria
The exam will take place in oral form using the Microsoft Teams platform and will be aimed at ascertain:
- the achievement of the course objectives in terms of knowledge and understanding.
- the ability to apply knowledge and understanding and verify the autonomy of judgment through the discussion of the topics covered by the lessons.
- the mastery of the specific language relating to the field of biochemistry and the ability to present the topics in a clear and logical way, with the necessary links to the content of other courses of the degree course.
Course syllabus
The chemistry of life. Specialized plant metabolites: diversity and biosynthesis.

The plant and its biochemical adaptation to the environment. Biochemistry of plant pollination. Flavors and natural dyes. Plant toxins and their effects on animals. Insect feeding preferences. Feeding preferences of vertebrates, including humans.

The co-evolutionary arms race: plant defense and animal response. Animal pheromones and defense substances. Biochemical interactions between higher plants. Higher plants-lower plant interactions: phytoalexins and phytotoxins. Conversion and transformations in the environment.

Green analytical chemistry with special emphasis on environmentally friendly sample preparation techniques; biotransformation.

Basics of remediation technologies for cleaning up contaminated sites. Soil and sediments, surface water and groundwater, air vapors. Fundamental and advanced analytical techniques for the environmental monitoring of organic and inorganic contaminants. General methodological concepts. Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) and atomic emission spectroscopy (AES), UV-vis spectrophotometry, fluorimetry, infrared spectroscopy (IR), basics of nuclear magnetic resonance techniques (NMR). Hyphenated techniques (LC-MS, GC-MS).

Related selected case studies.
Prerequisites for admission
No specific prior knowledge additional to that required to register to the graduation course is needed (basic chemical courses).
Teaching methods
Classroom lessons
Teaching Resources
O. Sterner Chemistry, Health and Environment, 2nd edition, 2010 Wiley

J.B. Harborne. Introduction to ecological biochemistry, 2014 Elsevier

Gerd‐Joachim Krauss, Dietrich H. Nies Ecological Biochemistry: Environmental and Interspecies Interactions, 2014 Wiley

Environmental site assessment and remediation. CRC Press. Edited by Yue Rong. 2018 Taylor and Francis Group (available for download at the online UniMI Library System)

S. Manahan. Environmental Chemistry. 10th edition, CRC Press

Literature and didactical material provided during classrooms (Ariel)
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral exam (30-40 min approximately). Students will be asked to discuss a personal written report on the analysis of a case selected from the topics discussed during the classroom lessons
CHIM/06 - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY - University credits: 0
Lessons: 64 hours
on appointment