Biochemistry, Pathology and Toxicology Food

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
BIO/12 VET/03 VET/07
Learning objectives
The course is aimed to provide the student with knowledge on the main biochemical and haematological biomarkers used to monitor feed-related dysmetabolism in farm animals also related to the presence of xenobiotics in animal feed. A further goal is to provide basic information on analytical techniques, instrumentation and calculation used in veterinary clinical pathology and biochemistry laboratories and on methodologies for the evaluation of feed contaminants.
Expected learning outcomes
1) Knowledge and understanding. The student is required to demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge on the pathogenesis of feed-related dysmetabolism, on the alterations associated with nutritional and toxicological disorders, on the contaminants of natural and synthetic origin in feed, and will develop skills in the use of methods and equipment used in clinical pathology and toxicology laboratories.
2) Ability to apply knowledge and understanding. The acquired knowledge will assist the student to understand and evaluate the impact of the food on farm animals health and well-being and on the quality of products of animal origin. Moreover the student will have knowledge on feed contaminants and information on the main methodologies for their detection
3) Autonomy of judgment. Through a theoretical and practical approach, which includes lectures, laboratory tests and visits to external companies, the student will acquire the tools to deal critically and proactively with the study of the subject, both as regards the information on the material provided by the teacher and on those reported in the recommended texts.
4) Communication skills. the student should be able to explain the concepts acquired with appropriate and updated terminology, during lectures, practical lessons and in the open-ended questions of the written exam.
5) Lifelong learning skills. At the end of the interdisciplinary course, which integrates theoretical and practical training, the students will acquire skills to tackle the complex management of nutrition in livestock systems in a more critical and autonomous way.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Prerequisites for admission
There are no compulsory propaedeutic exams (barrier exams), but basic knowledge of biochemistry, toxicology and animal pathology is required.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of an oral interview aimed to evaluate knowledge and understanding of the lectures' subjects and of the laboratory activities. The test will be evaluated in thirtieths (minimum grade is 18 and the maximum is 30 "cum laude", with honours). The final score is the sum of the scores of the three teaching units. The score will take into account the accuracy and the capacity to motivate the answers, as well as the capacity to explain the concepts acquired with appropriate and updated terminology.
Clinical biochemistry of nutrition
Course syllabus
Theoretical training (16 hours)

Molecular basis of animal nutrition:
- Chemical and biochemical characteristics of nutrients (3h).
- Nutritional biochemistry: absorption, oxidation/reduction reactions in metabolism, gut fermentations (5h).
- Integration of metabolism and endocrine regulation of nutrient metabolism (3h).

Clinical biochemistry methods for measuring molecular markers of nutritional diseases:
- Analytical techniques and instruments used in clinical biochemistry laboratories (5h).

Practical training (16 hours)

Students will develop skills in calculation routinely used in clinical biochemistry laboratories.
- Different ways of expression of quantity and concentration (4h)
- Conversion between units of measurement (4h)
- From instrument reading to analyte concentration (4h)
- Laboratory mathematics, computer elaboration of raw data and graphical representation of clinical biochemistry analysis results (4h)
Teaching methods
Lectures (2 CFU) and laboratory activity (1 CFU)
Teaching Resources
- Power point hand outs and lecture notes present on the ARIEL web site.
- Cozzani-Dainese, Biochimica degli alimenti e della nutrizione, Piccin Nuova Libraria, 2006
- Arienti, Le basi molecolari della nutrizione, Piccin Nuova Libraria, 2003.
Metabolic diseases
Course syllabus
- Ketosis and Steatosis (2 hours)
- Metabolic changes due to deficiency/excess in feed mineral elements and vitamins (6 hours)
- Iron deficency anemia (2 hours)
- Production diseases associated with energy imbalances (2 hours)
- The metabolic profile (2 hours)
- The acute and chronic toxicosis (oncogenesis) (2 hours)

- Pre-analytical errors (2 hours)
- Microscopy practical training (6 hours)
- Herd visit - Laboratory
o Detection of problems in animal production and blood sampling (3 hours)
o Pre-processing and analysis of blood samples (3 hours)
- Evaluation and interpretation of data (2 hours)
Teaching methods
Lectures, laboratory activity, herd visit
Teaching Resources
Teaching material is provided by the teacher and it is available on ARIEL course page (
Toxicology and feedcontaminants
Course syllabus
Lectures (16 hours)
-Introduction to the course. Difference between residues, contaminants and traces of substances in feed, and main contaminants or residues (4 hours)
-Problems related to the presence of illicit substances in feed, even in the absence of treatments. Regulatory and toxicological aspects. (2 hours).
-Endocrine disruptors, introduction, molecules active on reproduction (1 hour).
-Thyrostats and issues related to cyanogenetic plants (2 hours).
-Dioxins, PCBs PBDEs (1 hour)
-Perfluoroalkyl substances (perfluorosulfonic and perfluoroalkyl acids) (3 hours)
-Phytotoxins in feed and species-specific effects (3 hours )

Laboratory activity (16 hours)
-The analytical methods for the search for active ingredients, prohibited or regulated, in food or biological matrices. Theoretical introduction to lab activity (4 hours)
-Analysis in GC MS-MS or LC MS-MS with methods validated according to decision 2002/657 / EC: from the preparation to the analysis of the feed sample and quantification of the data (6 hours).
-Visit to a certified laboratory for veterinary toxicological analyses (6 hours)
Teaching methods
Lectures and laboratory activity
Teaching Resources
Didactic material is available on ARIEL course page

C. NEBBIA Residui di farmaci e Contaminanti Ambientali nelle Produzioni animali, Edises 2009
Clinical biochemistry of nutrition
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 16 hours
Professor: Borromeo Vitaliano
Metabolic diseases
VET/03 - VETERINARY PATHOLOGY - University credits: 3
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 16 hours
Professor: Giordano Alessia
Toxicology and feedcontaminants
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 16 hours
Professor: Arioli Francesco
on demand
VESPA building, ground floor