Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to bring the students to evaluate the contribution and the perspectives of biotechnology in the formulation of ingredients/foods with potential functional effects. Specifically, the course is aimed to: i) provide basic knowledge on the digestion, absorption, metabolism and biological/functional activity of the different macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and nutraceuticals/bioactive compounds (e.g. carotenoids, glucosinolates, and polyphenols); ii) familiarize students with the scientific evidence about the role of diet and dietary components in the modulation of risk factors associated with chronic diseases (e.g cardiovascular diseases) and human health; iii) enable students to understand the concept of functional foods and their role in the human health and well-being.
Expected learning outcomes
Students will acquire basic knowledge on the physiology of human nutrition and the importance of macronutrients, micronutrients and nutraceuticals in the context of the human well-being. Students will be then equipped with knowledge necessary to understand the diet-health relationships and the importance of human evidence-based nutrition. Students will learn the regulatory aspects of functional foods and the requirements for safety and efficacy assessment of nutraceutical and functional food. Perspectives about the application of biotechnology for improving the formulation of potential functional ingredients/foods will be mastered.
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
1-Anatomy and physiology of digestive system;
2-Digestion, absorption and metabolism of macro and micronutrients;
3-Role of macro and micronutrients and nutritional needs;
4-Role of dietary patterns/foods/components in health and disease prevention;
5-Nutraceuticals and functional foods: definition, purpose, and health benefits;
6-Role of biotechnology in the formulation of functional ingredients/foods;
7-The "Omic sciences": a new comprehensive approach to food and nutrition.
Prerequisites for admission
Course prerequisites and exam arrangements are the same for students attending and not attending the course lessons. A knowledge of basic biochemistry is recommended. For further information, students are encouraged to contact the teacher to obtain indications about texts and bibliographic references that can be studied to fill eventual knowledge gaps.
Teaching methods
Interactive frontal lessons and practical lab. activities
Lessons: 40 hours (5.0 CFU)
Practical labs: 16 hours (1.0 CFU)
Teaching Resources
-M.E. Shils, Modern nutrition in health and disease, Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, 1999

Teaching materials
Assessment methods and Criteria
At the end of the course an oral examination (at least 25-30 min) will be scheduled
BIO/09 - PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 6
Practicals: 8 hours
Laboratories: 8 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Del Bo' Cristian
Educational website(s)