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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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structure and function of organic molecules in food
Code: K0513-
Teacher:  Sabrina Dallavalle
Year: 
Term: 
CFU: 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 4,5
Practices in laboratory:  1,5
Basic aims:  The aim of the course is to give a deeper knowledge on the
structure and reactivity of organic compounds. Particular attention
will be focused on the understanding of the relationships between
chemical structure (lipophilicity, electronic and steric effects),
activity and stability (temperature, pH, light, oxygen) of organic
molecules in foods.
Acquired skills:  To get competences needed for understanding and interpreting the
chemical reactivity of organic compounds and their structure-
activity relationships. To acquire confidence with the principal
methods for structural elucidation of organic molecules.
Course contents:  Chemical modifications of organic compounds in food components.
Oxidative degradations of fats, hydrolytic and thermic reactions.
Structure and reactivity of organic compounds added to food
products: antioxidants, sweeteners, acidifiers, dyes. Methods for
structural elucidation of organic compounds. Practical: extraction
and spectroscopic analysis of food-related natural substances.
Program:  Reminder of structure and nomenclature of the main classes of
organic compounds. Chemical modifications of organic compounds
in food components. Oxidative degradations of alkenes, polienes,
phenols. Autooxidations of fats. Antioxidants. N-Nitrosation
reactions of nitrogen compounds. Hydrolytic and thermic
reactions. Maillard reaction: formation of aromas and coloured
compounds. Dyes and colour: basic notions of spectroscopy.
Natural (polienes, porphirin derivatives, quinones, flavonoids,
poliphenols) and synthetic dyes: structure and stability.
Chemoreception of taste.Taste receptors: structure. Models for
taste active compounds. Sweet, bitter and umami molecules.
Natural sweeteners. Synthetic intensive sweeteners. Hot and
cooling compounds. Compounds affecting pH. Polysaccharides:
relationships between structure,conformation and physico-
chemical properties. Use of polysaccharides in foods. Emulsifying
agents. Cyclodextrins.Terpenoids and Carotenoids:properties and
uses. Methods for structural elucidation of organic compounds. UV
and IR spectroscopy and their use to analyse organic functional
groups. NMR spectroscopy: basic concepts, application to the
analysis of organic compounds. Use of NMR in food analysis.
Practical: extraction and spectroscopic studies of food-related
natural substances.
Prerequisites:  The student is assumed to be familiar with the basic concepts of organic chemistry acquired in the 3-year course, particularly with chemical reactivity of carbonyl compounds and of carboxylic acids and their derivatives, and with stereochemistry.
Preparatory instructions:  None
Learning materials:  1. Brown, Introduction to Organic Chemistry, or J. McMurry, Organic Chemistry, or any other book of Organic Chemistry used in the 3-year course. 2. Belitz, Food Chemistry, Springer Verlag 1999 3. Copies of transparencies and slides.
Other info:  The final exam consists of a written test. The exam test may contain questions concerning the practical exercises.
Attendance of a lecture on safety in chemical laboratories is required for admission to practical exercises in the laboratory.
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Program of structure and function of organic molecules in food (pdf version)
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