Course unit partition: Cognomi M-Z

Academic year 2019/20
2° year of course - Annual
Academic discipline
Chimica degli alimenti (CHIM/10)
Ambito aggregato per crediti di sede
Type of training activity
90 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: -
course unit

Learning objectives

The objective of the Laboratory of food chemistry course is to acquire knowledge related to the analytical field of food chemistry. In particular, the course aims to provide the basics on the main basic and instrumental analytical techniques that are applied to analyze a food, to characterize it and therefore to know its contents in depth. As part of the course, basic analytical techniques are analyzed for the analysis of a food matrix, to move to instrumental analytical techniques and finally to the critical treatment of the data obtained. Furthermore, aspects related to the possible modifications that can occur in a food during the transformation and processing phase are studied in depth.
The expected learning outcomes are: 1. Knowledge and understanding: understanding the analytical parameters to be determined and the methods to be applied for the analysis of a food matrix, both qualitative and quantitative. Ability to use the specific language of food chemistry. 2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding: ability to manage the principles underlying the methods for the chemical analysis of food matrices in order to decide independently which tests to apply on foods and why to apply them. 3. Communication skills: the student must be able to use scientific language and the specific lexicon of food chemistry appropriately, demonstrating the ability to illustrate and transmit the concepts acquired. 4. Autonomy of judgment: the student must be able to independently assess which modalities to choose and apply to fully characterize a food matrix according to the food in front of him. 5. Learning skills: the student must be able to synthesize and correlate the different topics covered in the other courses of the study course.


General, organic, analytical and food chemistry skills acquired in previous/contemporary courses are required.

Course unit content

The first lessons concern topics of a general nature relating to the basic techniques and instrumentation supplied to a chemical-food laboratory. The second part of the course is dedicated to the treatment and application of specific methods for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of food. In the first part of the course methods and protocols are dealt with which provide for a limited number of steps, then move on to more complex experiments, and finally arrive at instrumental techniques. The last exercises are dedicated to the treatment of the data collected during the experiments.

Full programme

Techniques to prepare and analyze solutions, extraction and chromatographic separation techniques, techniques for the synthesis of molecules of food interest, techniques for purification of extracts, techniques for food analysis and finally also techniques for treatment of data obtained from analysis will be considered. The course therefore includes: the study of the preparation and analysis of standard solutions; quantitative analysis by acid-base titration; extraction of bioactive compounds from food matrices (extraction of caffeine from tea leaves) and evaluation of the purity of the extract through instrumental measurements; study of the recovery and behavior of natural dyes (carotenoids extracted from spinach leaves; chlorophyll in peas; blueberry anthocyanins); synthesis, purification and analysis of flavors of food interest (banana aroma synthesis); methods for the determination of sugars in a food matrix; methods for the determination of amino acids and proteins in food; Evaluation of thermal processes in a food (study of the Maillard reaction); analysis of the fat component of a food (determination of the quality parameters of an oil); use of instrumental techniques such as UV-Visible spectrophotometry to determine the presence and quantity of particular compounds in food and / or drinks; gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography (HPLC); basic instrumentation for a food chemistry laboratory such as Soxhlet extractor and Kjeldhal method; processing of data deriving from analysis using specific software.


- P. Cabras, A. Martelli, "Chimica degli alimenti“, Ed. Piccin (Padova, 2004)
- H.D. Belitz, W. Grosch, Food Chemistry, Springer-Verlag Ed. (Berlin, Germany)
- P. Cappelli, V. Vannucchi "Chimica degli alimenti-Conservazione e trasformazioni" Ed. Zanichelli (Bologna, 2000)
- Paolo Cabras, Carlo I. Tuberoso, “Analisi dei prodotti alimentari”, Piccin

Teaching methods

The teaching will be carried out through lectures / frontal exercises in the classroom with the aid of slides which will represent didactic material, to complement the recommended texts. The slides will be available online on the website in pdf format for students. During the lessons, the appropriate use of technical language will be reiterated, and the links between the various parts of the course will be highlighted. For this reason, the presence and active participation of students is strongly encouraged, especially as regards practical exercises.
The course includes tutorial lessons on the principles and methods of analysis that underpin research in the field of food chemistry.
The content of the tutorial lessons, carried out in the classroom and in the laboratory, will be an integral part of the final assessment.

Assessment methods and criteria

At the end of the course, the level of learning of the expected results will be verified for all the contents offered during the lessons, including tutorial lessons.
In order to assess the understanding of the topics illustrated during the course, both in the classroom exercise phases and in the laboratory exercise phases, and the student's ability to independently revise the concepts, the exam is divided into 2 parts:
1. Written exam: consisting of 6 open questions each of which has a value of 4 points, for a maximum of 24 total points. The questions verify the achievement of the minimum knowledge of the fundamental concepts of the course and may include one or two calculation exercises. The exam is considered passed and the minimum threshold of 14.5 points is reached.
2. Compilation of the laboratory notebook: the laboratory notebook requires the student to send a report for each of the practical experiences carried out in the laboratory. In each report, the procedures performed to carry out the experiment must be indicated and well described, the fundamental steps that allowed to achieve the results obtained, including good safety and prevention rules, the calculations that may have been carried out, the results obtained and comments / conclusions. The notebook will be evaluated in order to verify the understanding of the experiments carried out and the ability to evaluate the results obtained. Maximum points: 6.
The final flight of the exam will be given by the sum of the score obtained in the written test and that obtained by the evaluation of the laboratory notebook.
The exam results are published on the ESSE3 portal ( within a reasonable time compatible with the number of students enrolled or in any case within 10-15 days from the exam date . Students can view the exam by appointment with the teacher.
The mark obtained in the module will weigh 50% on the final mark of the integrated course.

Other information

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