Micro- and macrostructure of foods

A.Y. 2017/2018
Lesson for
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The aim of the course is to make aware the students of the importance of the food structure ant to provide students with the fundamental principles and methods for the evaluation of the micro and macrostructure of foods.
At the end of the course and after the final exam, the student will be able to: chose the suitable method for the structural evaluation of a food material; optimize the analysis conditions; elaborate and discuss experimental data; write a technical report.

Course structure and Syllabus

Active edition
Laboratories: 16 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
Professors: Alamprese Cristina, Pagani Maria Ambrogina
Analytical techniques for the evaluation of food microstructure (ultrastructural techniques). Principles of light, polarized light, and fluorescence microscopy. Principles of Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Electron microscopy evolution. Sample preparation techniques for microscopy observations. Artifacts. Microstructure of foods of animal (milk and dairy products) and vegetable (cereals and cereal products) origin. Relationship with raw material characteristics and processing conditions.

Food physical properties and texture (macrostructural characteristics): Geometrical, mechanical and technological material properties. Importance of food texture; glossary; interaction with sensory perception. Actual examples of the influence of some constituents and technological treatments on food texture.

Analytical methods for food texture evaluation: Fundamental, empirical, and imitative methods. Instruments and operative conditions; effects on analytical results. Compression, penetration, cut-shear, compression-extrusion, bending-snapping, tensile, and adhesion tests. Actual examples of texture measurements for different kind of foods. Practices on food texture evaluation. Statistical elaboration of experimental data.

Food rheology: viscosity and rheology. Material classification on the basis of the rheological behavior. Viscometers and rheometers. Different tests for rheological behavior evaluation. Actual examples of rheological measurements for different kinds of food materials. Practices on food rheology evaluation.

Food color: Color perception and theory. Reference systems and methods for the objective measurement of color. Colorimeters and spectrophotometers. Actual examples of food color measurements and issues.

Elements of image analysis: Image theory; glossary. Image acquisition methods and issues. Image analysis techniques. Actual examples and practices on food image analysis.
Teaching methods
Copia delle slide utilizzate a lezione; appunti delle lezioni; materiale bibliografico fornito dal docente.
Lesson period
Second semester
Lesson period
Second semester
Assessment methods
Assessment result
voto verbalizzato in trentesimi