Subject: BIOCHEMISTRY OF NUTRITION AND FOOD SECURITY (A.A. 2023/2024)
Food Technologies (lesson)
The aim is to provide knowledge of the biochemistry of food and nutrition: digestion, absorption and transport of nutrients and metabolic processes that transform nutrients for plastic and energy purposes. Biochemistry of exobiotic (carnitine, omega 3, lecithin, heteropolysaccharides animals ...) and xenobiotics (additives, drugs, environmental contaminants, toxins ...) used in foods and food supplements. Provide students with the necessary elements to understand the nutritional aspects at molecular and cellular level, considering the modifications due to the technologies of production, processing, storage and distribution of food, and dietary habits and their effects in the short and long term. The student will be able to apply this knowledge in the elaboration and management of food production and innovation for the diffusion of a correct diet rules aimed at the prevention of widespread and high social impact diseases.
Fundamentals of general biochemistry and metabolism. Amino acids, peptides, proteins. Carbohydrates and glycobiology. Nucleotides and nucleic acids. Lipids. Biological membranes and transport. Bioenergetics and carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Integration of metabolism in mammals.
Elements of cell physiology and gastrointestinal physiology.
Elements of digestive system anatomy.
The subdivision of the contents by CFU is to be regarded as purely indicative. It can change based on student feedback.
1 CFU: Food, nutrients, non-nutrients, anti-nutrients, and anti-metabolites. Biochemical effects of technological treatments of food and nutrient bioavailability. Alteration of food for processing, storage, cooking.
3 CFU: Biochemical processes in the digestion of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Dietary protease inhibitors. Molecular systems of absorption and transport of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and peptides. Unavailable carbohydrate and fiber. Technological processes and nutritional properties of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Glycaemic Index. Effect of glycation on the structure of proteins. Dietary fat and composition of membrane and storage lipids. Bioactive lipids. Trans fatty acids and cholesterol. Bioavailability and nutritional value of food proteins. Branched Chain Amino Acids. Absorption and metabolism of the fermentation products. Bioavailability, absorption, catabolism, use and abuse of vitamins. Anti-vitamin factors. Inorganic nutrients and trace elements: distribution, absorption, and excretion. Food water.
2 CFU: Defence systems, detoxification and excretion routes of exo-and xenobiotics present in food. Biochemical reading, of labels, advertising and scientific publications concerning foods, supplements, functional foods ... Eating habits. Biochemical adaptation to different nutrient content in food. Enzyme induction. Food: necessity, pleasure, quantitative excesses, specific interventions. Food and health. Leptin and appetite control. The myth of the Mediterranean diet and the French paradox. Functional foods, nutraceuticals, dietary supplements. Biochemical basis of food-related diseases, auto-immune reactions, and food intolerances. Obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, celiac disease. Food contaminants and cancer. Foods containing GMOs and organic food: nutritional quality and safe use.
Lessons in the classroom with the help of Power Point presentations. Review activity carried out in the classroom with the teacher designed to explain and memorize the notions and to get students used to speaking in front of an audience. Personal appointments at the request of the student to explain and / or deepen the topics covered. Notions for carrying out bibliographical research and writing bibliography. The course is in Italian language. Attendance of the lessons is not mandatory but recommended.
The exams take place over the teaching calendar. For each session, students must register using the Esse3 platform. The exam is oral, lasts approximately 20-30 minutes and consists both in the presentation of a thesis on a topic chosen by the student and in questions on other topics of the program. The time devoted to the exam and the number of questions (from 2 to 5) vary depending on the preparation and presentation skills of the candidate. The questions can concern both the thesis and different topics of the program. The questions are aimed to value: knowledge and understanding skills; the ability to apply the acquired knowledge; autonomy of judgment; communication skills. Knowledge and understanding of food biochemistry is required, including the different phases, activities, and functions of nutrition: digestion, absorption and transport of nutrients and metabolic processes that transform and use nutrients for plastic and energy purposes. Knowledge and understanding of nutritional aspects considering any changes due to the technologies of production, processing, storage, and distribution of food, as well as food habits and their short and long-term effects. The examination provides an assessment of thirty and it is necessary to reach 18/30 to pass the exam (i.e., a reasonably sufficient preparation on both the contents and the expository language used).
Knowledge and understanding skills: Knowledge and understanding of food biochemistry is required, and that the student will be able to clearly describe the properties of foods including the different phases, activities and functions of nutrition: digestion, absorption and transport of nutrients and metabolic processes that transform and use nutrients for plastic and energy purposes. Knowledge and understanding of nutritional aspects taking into account any changes due to the technologies of production, processing, storage and distribution of food, as well as food habits and their short and long-term effects.
Ability to apply the acquired knowledge: Students are expected to be able to apply their knowledge in the development and dissemination of foods and correct dietary rules aimed at the prevention of diseases of widespread and high social impact.
Autonomy of judgment: Students will be able to verify their own degree of learning and understanding thanks to the possibility to interact in class and to the writing of a thesis on a topic chosen by the program. The student must be able to reorganize the knowledge learned in order to critically evaluate the applicative aspects of the notions learned.
Communication skills: the student must be able to clearly communicate the knowledge and understanding skills acquired and to use the scientific language correctly and appropriately.
The achievement of the skills described takes place with the individual study of the proposed texts and is prompted by the classroom activities carried out with the teacher.
The preparation of an in-depth thesis on a topic chosen by the student also contributes to their achievement.
Learning ability: The student must be able to use the knowledge acquired and apply this knowledge in the processing, production, transformation, and storage of food.
Un testo a scelta tra: (a textbook chosen from the following):
1. COZZANI I. & DAINESE E. "Biochimica degli alimenti e della nutrizione" Piccin-Nuova Libraria, Padova.
2. LEUZZI U., BELLOCCO E., BARRECA D. "Biochimica della Nutrizione" Zanichelli
3. D.L. NELSON, M.M. COX “Fondamenti di biochimica di Lehninger” Zanichelli
4. Articoli scientifici dati dal docente.