cod. 1009235

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - Second semester
- Michele SUMAN
Academic discipline
Chimica agraria (AGR/13)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

The course aims to guide the student to the concepts & analytical solutions related to frauds/claims, authenticity-traceability and integrity in the agri-food chain.

The student will get a brief overview of the European and international regulations on food authenticity, as well as a wide panoramic of the techniques and approaches for traceability and authentication of agri-food products, including pro/cons of targeted-nontargeted strategies in conjunction with database effectiveness. The concepts of protected brand products (PDO, PGI, TSG) will be also provided. Several case-studies taken from the main affected food chains will be used as examples during the course.

Analytical techniques will be treated with case studies in conjunction with basic concepts related to multivariate data analysis & chemometrics. Seminars and didactic-educational visits will be organized in collaboration with external organizations, focused on agrifood chain innovation and research perspectives.

At the end of the course the student must be able to:
1) Have a general knowledge related to each category of food with protected denomination and to the correspondent concepts of managing/protecting added-value agri-food products & processes from the authenticity-integrity perspectives
2) Recognize the main characteristics and describe in practical terms the principles of the analytical techniques illustrated along the course
3) Illustrate the main phase of analytical approach to food integrity issues: sampling, method selection/development, experimental design, data acquisition-elaboration-interpretation, modelling and prediction of new scenarios


The student is expected to possess previous base skills of analytical chemistry. Furthermore, some previous concepts of food chemistry/technology and statistics could be useful. If required, the student can ask for supplementary material related to these topics.

Course unit content

The course will deal with several physico-chemical techniques moving from spectroscopy to mass spectrometry, from nuclear magnetic resonance to omic sciences, etc. Case studies and seminars will be properly set; didactic visits to companies/organizations, where food and traceability protocols are concretely applied, will be organized.
Critical reading of selected sections of international peer-review scientific papers will be also illustrated
Definitions of food authenticity and traceability; European and international regulations. Protected brand products (PDO, PGI, TSG). ISO, Codex Alimentarius, CEN-UNI activities. 0,5 CFU
Frauds in the agri-food chain and food integrity. The types of fraud: mis-labelling, substitution, adulteration and counterfeiting, organic. 0,5 CFU
Informational traceability. labelling. bottom-up analytical inspections. Certifications and audit. 0,5 CFU
Overview of the most adopted chemical methods (combined with chromatographic separation techniques and with multivariate analysis and chemometrics) used in food traceability and authenticity: spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, isotopic approaches, nuclear magnetic resonance, ion mobility, portable devices.
Case studies on extra virgin olive oil, honey, wheat, fruit, spices.2 CFU
Metabolomics, proteomics, genomics, foodomics: description of the techniques and applications to food authenticity
Case studies on dairy, eggproducts, meat, wine, organic food. 1,5 CFU
Laboratory practice or virtual experimental sessions devoted to real application on the field of different analytical techniques 0,5 CFU
Seminars and educational visits: experience from professionals in the sector of food authenticity and traceability. 0,5 CFU

Full programme

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Texts mainly in use:
P. BRERETON (Ed.) New analytical approaches for verifying the origin of food, 2013, Woodhead Publishing Limited
J.F. MORIN & M. LEES (Ed.) & FOODINTEGRITY EU CONSORTIUM. FoodIntegrity Handbook – A Guide to Food Authenticity Issues and Analytical Solutions. © 2018 The FoodIntegrity Project under grant agreement n° 613688. ISBN print version 978-2-9566303-0-2 / electronic version 978-2-9566303-1-9 -

Recommended texts:
R. COZZI, P. PROTTI, T. RUARO. Elementi di Analisi Chimica Strumentale Zanichelli 2° Ed., 2013
D. A. SKOOG, F. J. HOLLER, S. R. CROUCH. Chimica Analitica strumentale, 2° Ed. EdiSES (Napoli) 2007.
I. S. ARVANITOYANNIS. Authenticity of Foods of animal origin. CRC Press 2015 Series: Food Biology Series

Teaching methods

The teaching method is based on:
1) Classroom lectures-tutorials where main topics are discussed, with the parallel applications to selected case studies in combination with the exploitation of correspondent scientific papers. During classroom hours the interactive partecipation of students will be strongly encouraged.
2) Exercises in lab and/or evaluation of performance after virtual sessions on instrumental-analytical strategies in different fielfd of application.
3) At the end of the course, the student must bring a presentation of; a case study (technique + application) taken from literature or elsewhere (conferences presentations, etc.). He must be able to critically illustrate how to proceed with an analytical technique for geographical traceability or detection of adulteration issues, within a specific food chain or sector.
4) Beside what indicated above, the didactic visits and seminars from external experts will help students to see realities where food integrity solutions are routinely implemented; the visit to the laboratories will be useful to see modern equipments and their application.

Assessment methods and criteria

The method applied to assess the degree of competence acquired is a final exam done orally, basically divided in two parts: (i) the first part consists of a report, prepared by the student, of ~15 slides where he presents a technique + application case study; (ii) the second part is on responsibility of the teacher who formulates questions related to the topics illustrated along the course itself (food integrity concepts, analytical techniques, legislation.). The oral interview will allow the teacher to check if the student knows how to orientate between the themes and the basic issues discussed during the lessons, with particular attention to the understanding of the principles and applications of the various strategies and analytical techniques. For the purposes of the evaluation, the pertinence of the answers, the appropriate use of specific terminology, the reasoned and coherent structuring of the speech, the proactivity made explicit along the course, the ability to identify conceptual links and open questions will all contribute. In addition, the student's ability to find/propose analytical pathways for novel potential and plausible cases will be assessed.
Up to 18 points on final oral-examination performance on questions being posed & in
relation to the purposes of the evaluation illustrated immediately here above.
Up to 8 points on report/presentation about “technique/application case study”.
Up to 4 points on seminars and didactic visits/activities engaged attendance (in case the student cannot participate to the didactic visits, alternative evaluation systems will have to be agreed on with the teacher).

Other information

The teacher is available in the weekly day fixed for the lessons, at the Department for Sustainable food process, upon appointment. It is advisable to schedule in advance with the teacher (by email to, such appointment.