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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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Micro- and macrostructure of foods
Code: G-013-
Teacher:  Cristina Alamprese
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 3
Practices in laboratory:  1
Basic aims:  The aim of the course is to make aware the students of the importance of the food structure ant to provide students with the fundamental principles and methods for the evaluation of the micro and macrostructure of foods.
Acquired skills:  At the end of the course and after the final exam, the student will be able to: chose the suitable method for the structural evaluation of a food material; optimize the analysis conditions; elaborate and discuss experimental data; write a technical report.
Course contents:  The course is organized in lectures and practices. During practices some of the studied methodologies will be applied to different food materials; data elaboration and literature survey will be also carried out. A practical case study will be developed by groups of students.
Course main topics:
- Analytical techniques for the evaluation of food microstructure (ultrastructural techniques)
- Food physical properties and texture (macrostructural characteristics)
- Analytical methods for food texture evaluation
- Food rheology
- Analytical methods for the evaluation of food rheological behavior
- Food color
- Elements of image analysis
Program:  Analytical techniques for the evaluation of food microstructure (ultrastructural techniques). Principles of light, polarized light, and fluorescence microscopy. Principles of Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Electron microscopy evolution. Sample preparation techniques for microscopy observations. Artifacts. Microstructure of foods of animal (milk and dairy products) and vegetable (cereals and cereal products) origin. Relationship with raw material characteristics and processing conditions.

Food physical properties and texture (macrostructural characteristics): Geometrical, mechanical and technological material properties. Importance of food texture; glossary; interaction with sensory perception. Actual examples of the influence of some constituents and technological treatments on food texture.

Analytical methods for food texture evaluation: Fundamental, empirical, and imitative methods. Instruments and operative conditions; effects on analytical results. Compression, penetration, cut-shear, compression-extrusion, bending-snapping, tensile, and adhesion tests. Actual examples of texture measurements for different kind of foods. Practices on food texture evaluation. Statistical elaboration of experimental data.

Food rheology: viscosity and rheology. Material classification on the basis of the rheological behavior. Viscometers and rheometers. Different tests for rheological behavior evaluation. Actual examples of rheological measurements for different kinds of food materials. Practices on food rheology evaluation.

Food color: Color perception and theory. Reference systems and methods for the objective measurement of color. Colorimeters and spectrophotometers. Actual examples of food color measurements and issues.

Elements of image analysis: Image theory; glossary. Image acquisition methods and issues. Image analysis techniques. Actual examples and practices on food image analysis.
Prerequisites:  None
Preparatory instructions:  None
Learning materials:  Lecture slides and notes; literature material distributed by the teachers.
Other info:  The oral examination will verify the knowledge of the theoretical and practical topics treated during the course.
If interested, students can develop in groups a case study on food texture. in order to demonstrate the acquired skills on food texture evaluation and the ability in the critical discussion of microstructural data found in the scientific literature. The presentation of the scientific report will be the starting point of the oral examination, which will then wide to some theoretical and practical concepts illustrated during the course.
Program of Micro- and macrostructure of foods (pdf version)
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