Molecular traceability of foods

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with the knowledge to use and implement biomolecular analytical tools for traceability in agri-food chains and the quali / quantitative determination of food components through the analysis of DNA and proteins.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the students will be able to manage the most common biomolecular methods of analysis and to implement new molecular tools for the biomolecular analysis of food products. Students will be able to correctly interpret the current national and community regulations on traceability. At the end of the course the students will be able to proceed with the purification of DNA and proteins starting from food, to detect and quantifying GMOs and to assess the compliance of typical and niche foods with their production specifications as well as detecting potential allergens.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Teaching methods: The lessons will be held on the Microsoft Teams platform and can be followed both synchronously on the basis of the second semester timetable and asynchronously because they will be recorded and left available to students on the same platform. The schedule of lessons and all the details of the activities will be published through notices on the ARIEL board. before the start of the lessons. Any updates will also be communicated through notices on the ARIEL board.
The methods and criteria for participating to any possible in presence lessons as established by the University, will be published in due time on the ARIEL notice board of the course. The exercises will take place partly in person and partly online, both asynchronously (providing the material with audio commentary through the Ariel site) and with synchronous mode to critically discuss publications and scientific reports of interest (through the Microsoft Teams platform ).
Program and reference material: The program and reference material will not change.
Learning verification procedures and assessment criteria: The exam will take place orally using the Microsoft Teams platform, according to the indications provided by the University.
Course syllabus
Outline of the regulations on traceability and traceability (Reg.178 / 2002, Regs. 1829-1830 / 2003) for the classification of analytical requirements aimed at: i) Varietal traceability and species in raw materials and vegetable ingredients; ii) Molecular traceability and labeling of GMO products; iv) Identification of food ingredients (eg: presence of particular flours in mixtures, horse meat in meatballs, etc); v) Molecular characterization for compliance with the production specifications of typical products. Classical and advanced methods for the analysis of informational macromolecules: PCR (Taqman, multiplex), microarray (chip) of nucleic acids and proteins. Protein analysis: extraction, Proteomics (mono and two-dimensional electrophoresis, shotgun). ELISA. Methods for the simultaneous determination of ingredients in complex matrices.
Problems related to the fragmentation / degradation of proteins and nucleic acids following production and conservation processes. Evaluation of matrix effects.
GMOs: detection methods for the identification and quantification of GMOs (determination of unique identifiers, transformation events); validation of methods: role of reference laboratories; databases of validated methods.
Evaluation of the presence of allergens.
Development of diagnostic kits of agro-food interest.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of biomolecular techniques and methodologies of applied biochemistry and molecular biology (PCR, immuno-enzymatic methods, protein and nucleic acids electrophoresis).
Teaching methods
Frontal lessons and individual practical laboratory.
Lessons: 28 hours (3.5 CFU)
Practical labs: 8 hours (0.5 CFU)
Teaching Resources
Course slides presented in the classroom and selected scientific papers. All the material is available on the ARIEL website of the course
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral exam based on the discussion of one of the scientific papers proposed by the teacher on the ARIEL website of the course and on consequent questions about the topics of the course. The exam can be taken by appointment with the teacher, to be requested by e-mail, after registering to an appeal on the SIFA platform.
The learning verification will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
1. Proof of understanding of the topics covered during lectures and laboratory practicals
2. Ability to discuss, in a critical and integrated way, the concepts and problems of traceability along the agri-food chains
3. Knowledge of the principles underlying the laboratory methodologies used
4. Correct terminology
5. Completeness of the answers
BIO/10 - BIOCHEMISTRY - University credits: 4
Laboratories: 8 hours
Lessons: 28 hours
Professor: Scarafoni Alessio
Thursday afternoon only by appointment (by e-mail)
Building 21040, first floor