Advanced techniques of microscopy, microanalysis and image analysis applied to foods

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course provides the student with theoretical and practical knowledge of advanced techniques of microscopy, microanalysis and image analysis as tools for investigating and understanding both properties and behaviour of food products.
Expected learning outcomes
The student will learn how (i) to choose the suitable microscopy techniques for studying food matrices depending on the desired information; (ii) to develop protocols for investigating both quality and technology aspects of food; (iii) to interpret the observed material with the support of microanalysis and image analysis.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
Introduction to advanced microscopy techniques as tools for investigating food microstructure. Background knowledge of fundamentals, fields of application, sensitivity and pitfalls of the different techniques of observation and the related sample preparation approaches, with special regard to:
- Optical microscopy and sample staining techniques
- Fluorescence microscopy and use of specific probes for food component localization
- Electron microscopy in combination with microanalysis or specific labelling tools.
Microstructure of colloids, emulsions, gels, powders, crystals of food interest. Identification and localization of lipids, proteins, sugars, microorganisms in food matrices through specific labelling techniques. Investigation of instability and interaction phenomena in both raw materials and finished products, with special regard to: gelation, coalescence, flocculation, polymerisation. Effects of technological processes (homogenization, heating, centrifugation, drying, mixing, freezing, fermentation) and storage on food microstructure.
The course includes practical sessions where the student will work on real food samples (dairy or cereal foods) using microscopy equipment under the supervision of technical staff. The results will be interpreted through the image analysis.
Prerequisites for admission
Teaching methods
The course is delivered through lectures (3 CFU) and laboratory experiences (1 CFU) also at the University platform for optical and electronic microscopy - Unitech NoLimits.
Teaching Resources
Slides provided by the teacher and notes of the lessons, technical documentation available on scientific database.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The student will be asked to write and discuss a technical report of the work done during the practical session.
AGR/15 - FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - University credits: 4
Laboratories: 16 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
Professor: D'Incecco Paolo