Food and fermentation chemistry

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Aims of the course are to provide the students with expertise in the classification of main nutrients, non-nutrients and xenobiotics and their chemical nature, in the composition of main food groups, and in the transformations food components undergo during their processing. Additional aim of the course in to provide the knowledge of the major food technologies based on fermentative processes used in the transformation of foods and related products.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students should have acquired the understanding of the chemical nature of the main groups of nutrients and of the features of the foods that contain them. They should also know the transformations that food components undergo during the physico-chemical and fermentative treatments they are subjected during food production.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First 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
Unit of Food Chemistry (3 CFU)
Major constituents of food.
Water. Structure of water. Interactions of water with food constituents and food matrices. Measurement of the water content of food.
Minerals: macro- and micro-elements.
Food additives. Classification and coding. Chemical properties of main classes of food additives (preservatives, antioxidants, emulsifiers, etc.).
Food color. Molecular bases of color. Measurement of color in food. Natural and artificial dyes.
Flavor: flavor and taste of food. Taste: sweetness, bitterness, saltiness, sourness, and umami. Astringent and spicy compounds. Volatile compounds in food. Phenol compounds.
Natural and synthetic antioxidants: classification, properties and mechanism of action.
Vitamins. Structure and occurrence of the main classes of fat-soluble vitamins.
Chemical transformations associated to the industrial food processing: consequences on nutritional, toxicological, and taste properties of food. The Maillard reaction.

Unit of Fermentation (3 CFU)
Microorganisms used for industrial production of food by fermentation: characteristics and genetic improvement.
Fermentation technology: industrial media, bioreactors structure, batch, fed-batch, continuous culture, immobilized cells and enzymes.
Fermentation processes for food production: dairy products, alcoholic beverages, bakery products.
Microbial production of food additives: citric acid, glutamic acid.
Production of vitamins.
Prerequisites for admission
A revision of the topics covered by chemistry, biochemistry and microbiology classes included in the bachelor curriculum prior to attending the course is highly recommended.
Teaching methods
Teaching mode: classroom lessons supported by projected material with discussion.
Attendance: highly recommended.
Teaching Resources
L. Mannina, M. Daglia, A. Ritieni, "La chimica e gli alimenti. Nutrienti e aspetti nutraceutici", CEA, 2019
T. P. Coultate, "La Chimica degli Alimenti", Zanichelli, 2004.
P. Cabras, A. Martelli, "Chimica degli alimenti", Piccin, 2004.
H.D. Belitz. W. Grosch, Schieberle, "Food Chemistry", Springer-Verlag, 4th Ed. 2009
P. Cappelli, V. Vannucchi "Principi di Chimica degli alimenti", Zanichelli, 2015.
Arienti G. "Le basi molecolari della nutrizione" Piccin.
Biotecnologie Microbiche, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana
Assessment methods and Criteria
The evaluation of the students' performance will be based on a written examination with open-answer questions spanning all topics covered in the course. The final grade will result from the joint evaluation of each candidate by the two instructors.
Lessons: 48 hours