cod. 1009045

Academic year 2021/22
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Biochimica (BIO/10)
Discipline biomediche
Type of training activity
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the course, the student is expected to have acquired the fundamental knowledge of nutrient biochemistry. In particular, the student must be able to:
1) classify and describe the structure and function of the main receptors (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
2) classify nutrients (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
3) describe the function and structure of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids and of the main molecules involved in metabolism (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
4) being able to write the chemical structure of the main macronutrients (monosaccharides and disaccharides, amino acids, lipids) and of the key compounds of the main metabolic pathways treated; of the main cofactors and prosthetic groups (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
5) describe the ways in which carbohydrates, lipids and proteins are absorbed, digested and metabolized by the body (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
6) apply the knowledge of macronutrient biochemistry to the understanding of the metabolic regulation of the biochemical destinies of nutrients (ABILITY TO APPLY KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
7) describe the absorption and role of vitamins and inorganic nutrients (KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
8) frame each macro and micronutrient in the complex biochemical network of which it is part (ABILITY TO APPLY KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING)
9) expose the course contents in an organic way and with a language that makes use of appropriate scientific terminology (COMMUNICATION SKILLS AND LEARNING SKILLS)


In order to address the topics of the course, students should possess the basic knowledge of Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Course unit content

The course will provide the biochemical knowledge necessary to understand how the digestion, absorption and metabolism of nutrients and their regulation take place. The first part of the course will be devoted to receptors, their structure, function and classification. The second part of the course will be dedicated to macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, lipids. Some aspects relating to ethanol intake will then be described. The third part of the course will focus on micronutrients, such as vitamins and inorganic nutrients. Finally, we will deal with other compounds of nutritional interest that do not fall within the aforementioned classes.

Full programme

Receptors : classification, structure and function.
Nutrient classification.
Carbohydrates: Digestion, absorption and transport. Summary of carbohydrate metabolism. Regulation of the metabolism of carbohydrates, insulin, glucagon. Metabolism of galactose and fructose.
Proteins: Digestion of proteins, absorption of amino acids and peptides. Transport of amino acids. Summary of amino acid metabolism. Non-protein nitrogen compounds deriving from amino acids. Notes on dysfunctions related to protein malabsorption, Hartnup's disease, celiac disease.
Lipids: Digestion, absorption and transport. Summary of triglyceride and fatty acid metabolism. Utilization of lipid reserves for energy purposes and regulation of lipid metabolism. Metabolism of keton bodies. Cholesterol and its biosynthesis.
Energy destinies of nutrients: Hormonal regulation of metabolism, blood sugar and control of energy reserves, diet-fasting cycle, physical activity.
Ethanol: Absorption and catabolism, metabolic alterations related to the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Vitamins: Transport, distribution and biochemical roles of water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Outline of vitamin deficiencies.
Inorganic nutrients: Absorption, transport and biochemical roles of the main macro and micro elements.
Other compounds of nutritional interest.


Biochimica della nutrizione, Leuzzi, Bellocco, Barreca, Ed. Zanichelli
Biochimica degli alimenti e della nutrizione, Cozzani, Dainese, Ed. Piccin
Le basi molecolari della nutrizione, Arienti, Ed. Piccin
Biochimica Medica, Strutturale, Metabolica e Funzionale, Siliprandi, Tettamanti, Ed. Piccin
I principi di biochimica di Lehninger, Nelson, Cox, Ed. Zanichelli

Teaching methods

The classes, except in cases of necessity related to the health emergency due to Covid-19, will be in presence.
The classes will use as a support material slides that will be made available to students on the Elly platform before each single class.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam includes a written test consisting of two parts: a part with closed answers and a part with open answers. The part with closed questions consists of 15 multiple choice questions, each correct question corresponds to 1 point. The part with open questions consists of 3 open questions on the topics covered in the course. Among the 3 open questions, 2 will give a maximum of 6 points each, and 1 will give a maximum of 3 points. The evaluation scale is 0-30 cum laude and will be given by the sum of the results of the two parts. The tasks in which a score lower than or equal to 7 is obtained in the part with closed questions are not corrected. Tasks in which there is even one open question left blank are automatically considered insufficient. The laude is given to those who reach 30 as a final score and demonstrate in the open questions part a deep knowledge and understanding of the subject and extreme clarity. During the exam it is not possible to use any kind of material (dictionaries, glossaries, manuals, tables of elements, calculators). The grade of the written test is communicated within ten days following the test by publication on the Esse3 platform. Students with SLD / BSE must first contact Le Eli-che: support for students with disabilities, D.S.A., B.E.S. (
If due to the persistence of the health emergency it is necessary to adopt the remote mode for the exams, the written exam, written will be conducted remotely (via Teams and Elly).

Other information