The course aims to examine some classes of compounds widely used in the food industry, highlighting the correlation between chemical structure (presence of functional groups, steric characteristics and lipophilic), activities, interaction with specific receptors (organoleptic properties, sensory, etc.). And stability in various chemical and physical conditions.


teacher profile | teaching materials


Cultural skills (Knowledge of): The course aims to provide students with the chemical basis of the structure, the properties, and the reactivity of the main classes of molecules present in food, as well as to illustrate the possible chemical modifications that these constituents undergo during the process cooking and/or storage.
Methodological skills (How to carry out): at the end of the course, the student will be able to analyze and discuss the mechanisms of interaction and transformation of the most important macro and micronutrient classes present in food, as well as how to carry out a qualitative and quantitative analysis of such constituents using HPLC.

The course is divided into 3 main sections:
Part 1: an overview of the principal classes of molecules (sugars, polysaccharides, lipids, proteins) that are present in food. The chemical properties of such substances dramatically condition the most important chemical and physical features of every food.
Part 2: the various substances are going to be gathered and addressed with respect the kind of contribution given to each food (i.e. colours, flavouring, vitamins, preservatives, poisonous compounds, minerals).
Part 3: Water.

Practical experiences will also be carried out (Chromatography: separation of β-carotene from chlorophyll from spinach pesto; Solvent extraction: how to separate acid, basic and neutral substances; HPLC: Quantitative analysis of caffeine; GC-MS: Qualitative analysis of lipids; Synthesis of Banana essence

Core Documentation

Lecture notes and bibliographical references will be provided

Type of delivery of the course

The course mainly involves lectures (in class when/if applicable; otherwise Microsoft Teams is going to be used) and few laboratory sessions, during which few techniques of qualitative and quantitative analysis of foods (GC-MS and HPLC-DAD) will be illustrated.

Type of evaluation

The oral exam consists in the presentation (by slide projection) of a chosen recipe, of which the students will have to illustrate the properties of the main classes of molecules present, as well as their mutual interaction and all possible transformations due to the cooking process; the presentation will then be discussed with the teacher.