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Molecular bases of taste
Code: G-019-
Teacher:  Angela Bassoli
Year:   
Term: 
CFU: 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 4
Basic aims:  To give information about specific taste active compounds in food, their molecular mechanisms and their industrial applications.
Acquired skills:  Knowledge of main classes of taste active compounds, (natural and synthetic), mechanism of action, perception, modifications, inhibition and synergy. Knowledge of the main techniques used in industry to discover new taste active compounds and most important related problems.
Course contents:  1. Taste: hystory, mechanisms, classification

1.1. Taste in history
1.2. How many basic tastes do we have: basic tastes vs “receptor mediated tastes”
1.3. Taste, a complex biological mechanism
1.4. Taste receptors
1.5. Taste measurements: sensory evaluation; the electronic tongue; the tests with cloned receptors
1.6. Taste modelling: in silico simulations of taste mechanisms

2) Taste compounds: isolation, synthesis and behaviour

2.1 Salty and umami
2.2 Sour
2.3 Bitter (alkaloids and similar, terpenoids, polyphenols; synthetic ultra bitter cpds)
2.4 Sweet : bulk and intensive sweeteners. Important synth sweeteners; other natural sweet compounds.

3) Rational design of taste active compounds

3.1 (Q)SARs for the design of taste active compounds
3.2 Molecular modelling tools
3.3 Natural vs synthetic compounds.
3.4 Practical guidelines for taste researchers (ethics, toxicology, technology problems to be solved)


4) Other gustative and somatosensory sensations

4.1 Astringent, metallic, kokumi; the “fat taste”; other?
4.2 Taste modyfiers, enhancers and inhibitors.
4.3 Somatosensory sensations
4.4 The TRP active compounds: cooling, hot, tingling, numbing;
4.5 Taste and medicine; taste and nutrition; gustogenetics; extragustative taste receptors; TRP and pain perception.
Program:  Taste: hystory, mechanisms, classification. The debate about "fundamental tastes". The tastes mediated by ion channes: sour, salty. The tastes mediated by GPCRs: sweet, bitter, umami. Other receptor mediated tastes. Other components of gustative perception: chemesthetic compounds; TRP active compounds (cooling, hot, tingling etc). TRP active compounds and their role in sensing and nociception. Taste modyfiers and their mechanism: direct (antagonists), indirect; flavour enhancers and synergy mechanism. Rational design of taste active compounds; QSARs approach, molecular modelling; state and perspectives. Natural vs synthetic compounds; taste active compounds from food plants and traditional food. Taste active and chemestetic compounds and their applications in agropharma, herboristic, cosmetic, food industry and health.
Prerequisites:  Fundamental organic chemistry and biochemistry are a pre-requisite.
Preparatory instructions:  Course for students of master degree level.
Learning materials:  The slides used for lessons (in English) are available from the teacher at the online site.
Other info:  For other information on lessons schedule and rooms please refer to the teacher. Modifications and news are given on the tearcher's online site.

Examination will be a discussion on some of the topics included in the program.


ATTENTION: FOR THE AA 2017-18 THE COURSE WILL BE ACTIVATED WITH THE EXPERIMENTAL MODALITY OF THE "BLENDED LEARNING" . FOR DETAILED INFORMATION PLEASE REFER TO THE ARIEL WEB SITE.
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Program of Molecular bases of taste (pdf version)
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