A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
General aims of the course:
1.To introduce students to the molecular design of life, including structural and biological properties of the main constituents of organisms;
2. To describe the molecular basis of the main biological processes, with particular emphasis on the metabolic fate of the lipidic, proteic and glycidic components of food and the role of vitamins;
3. To introduce students to the main molecular biology mechanisms, including DNA replication, RNA and protein synthesis;
4. To introduce basic laboratory biochemical techniques
Expected learning outcomes
1- Knowledge and understanding: Students will acquire basic knowledge on the structure and function of the most
relevant biomolecules, including macromolecules, and of the main biological processes operating in animal cell, with special emphasis on the biological fate of the main components of nutrients and the mechanisms of energy production and storage; presentation of the basic mechanisms of molecular biology will result in understanding processes leading to the expression of genetic information. 
2-Ability to apply knowledge and understanding: At the end of the course the student must be able to distinguish the main metabolic fates of the proteic, lipidic and glycidic components of food, with particular emphasis on their relative role in energy production and storage. This basic knowledge will be indispensable in the courses of subsequent years, related to animal welfare. Knowledge of the theoretical and practical principles of basic biochemical techniques will allow understanding their importance in the analysis of biological samples and food.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for a.y. 2021-22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation
Course syllabus
Theoretical lectures (56 hours)
Amino acids, proteins and structural levels of proteins (3 hours)
Biological membranes and transport across membranes (4 hours)
Oxygen-transporting proteins (4 hours)
Collagen (1 hour)
Enzymes: kinetics and mechanisms of regulation, zymogens (4 hours)
Molecular mechanisms of digestion, absorption and transport of the main nutritionally relevant classes of compounds (6 hours)
Metabolism of carbohydrates: glycolysis, pentose phosphate pathway, metabolism of glycogen, gluoconeogenesis, biosynthesis of lactose (8 hours)
Metabolism of lipids: metabolism of fatty acids and ketone bodies, overview of metabolism of triacylglicerols, phosphoglycerids, sfingolipids, cholesterol and steroids (6 hours)
Krebs cycle and oxidative phosphorylation (4 hours)
Metabolism of amino acids: amino acid degradation and the urea cycle, overview of nitrogen fixation and amino acid biosynthesis (3 hours)
Overview of metabolism of nucleotides (2 hours)
Integration of metabolism and overview of hormonal control of metabolism (2 hours)
Vitamins (1 hour)
Molecular biology: structure and function of nucleic acids, genetic code, DNA replication, transcription and post-transcriptional modifications, protein synthesis and post-translational modifications (8 hours)
Practical laboratories and seminars (16 h)
Seminars on practical use of enzymes, bioenergetics, oxidative stress, recombinant proteins, ruminal biochemistry, proteomics (8 hours)
Description of basic methods and materials used in the biochemical laboratory. Theory of spectrophotometrical determination of biological compounds. Colorimetrical determination of glucose, total protein content and alkaline phosphatase (5 hours)
Principles and applications of mass spectrometry (3 hours)
Prerequisites for admission
In order to attend the course profitably the student should be endowed with basic knowledge of general, inorganic and organic chemistry. It is highly recommended to follow the course "Chemistry" held in the first semester. Alternatively, students can use any basic level chemistry textbook or on-line material.
Teaching methods
The course consists of theoretical lectures, with the aid of on-line scientific movies in order to describe the complex molecular events leading to nucleic acids and protein synthesis, practical lectures and seminars on specific topics of interest. Practical activities consist in the description of basic methodologies and materials used in biochemical laboratories and execution of biological assays in teaching laboratories and in computer-based evaluation of experimental results and database searching
Teaching Resources
Power Point slides on Ariel web-site (
One of the following textbooks:
D.L. Nelson M.M. Cox Introduzione alla biochimica di Lehninger (Zanichelli)
Campbell Farrell Biochimica (Edises)
Assessment methods and Criteria
The examination takes place in a single written test consisting in 4 open questions, one for each of the following general subject: metabolism and its control, general biochemistry, molecular biology and the structure of a nucleic acid. Information concerning the specific topic comprised in each general subject is clearly indicated to students at the beginning of the course and can be found in the ARIEL site of the teacher ( Students must complete the test in 2.5 hours. The overall final score of the test, beside correctness, takes into account completeness, clarity, synthesis and use of proper terminology.
Exams are in number of 7 in the Academic year and take place in the months of January, February, April June, July, September and October, with the frequency set by the teaching board.
BIO/10 - BIOCHEMISTRY - University credits: 8
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 56 hours
Professor: Negri Armando