Academic Year 2021/2022 - 3° Year
Teaching Staff: Nunzio Cardullo
Credit Value: 6
Scientific field: CHIM/08 - Pharmaceutical chemistry
Course Language: Italian
Taught classes: 28 hours
Exercise: 28 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives

The student will acquire specific knowledge on nutraceutical compounds, their distribution in food and "medicinal plants" and their role on human health. The student will learn to identify possible food contaminants. At the end of the course, the student will acquire skills on the nature of nutraceutical compounds and their mechanisms of action, on the distinction between food supplements, nutraceutical compounds and functional foods. Furthermore, the student will be able to recognize the main classes of nutraceuticals and foods contaminants.

Course Structure

The course is divided into 28 hours of lessons and 28 hours of exercises; the latter will focus on specific topics on some nutraceutical compounds examined and their determination in fruits and vegetables. Some changes may be introduced with respect to what was previously stated if teaching move from face-to face lectures to mixed or remote way, in order to comply with the program envisaged and reported in the syllabus.

Detailed Course Content

  1. General remarks on food and nutraceutical compounds. Food supplements and functional foods. Classification of nutraceutical compounds and biological functions. Secondary metabolites as nutraceutical compounds.
  2. Polyphenolic compounds: classification and biosynthetic origin; natural sources; main biological functions.
  3. Terpenes and Terpenoids: classification; natural sources; main biological functions.
  4. Vitamins as nutraceutical compounds: structure; natural sources and biological activities.
  5. Indoles, isothiocyanates, glucosinolates: structure; natural sources and biological activities
  6. Essential fatty acids: structure; natural sources and biological activities
  7. Soluble and insoluble carbohydrates: structure; natural sources and biological activities
  8. Prebiotics and probiotics. Information on their nature and role for human health.
  9. Determination of antioxidant capacity and vitamin C in foods. Methods for the determination of carbohydrates in foods. Carotenoids extraction from plants.
  10. General information on food quality and contaminants. Classification of the main classes of food contaminants.
  11. Involuntary, environmental and in-process contamination of a food. Explanatory examples.
  12. Legislation on food contaminants
  13. Mycotoxins, aflatoxins, acrylamides, pesticides, antibiotics, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls, heavy metals.

Textbook Information

1) P. Cabras, A. Martelli: Chimica degli Alimenti, Ed. Piccin (Padova).

Lectures material (slides, handouts, exercises, bibliography), in addition to the recommended text, will be available through the STUDIUM platform.