D3a - Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)


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Seat Agraria
A.A. A.A. 2016-2017
Credits 6
Hours 54
Period 2^ semestre
Language ENG
U-gov code LM FOBIM W000601


Basic knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, machinery and plants for industry and energy, unit operations in food technology are propaedeutic to this course.

Development of the course

The course is structured in lectures (4 ECTS, 36 hours) supported by blackboard, projector, lessons on computer and in exercise applications (2 ECTS, 18 hours) on computer. The didactic material is available on the web platform.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

a) knowledge of the most important energy and environmental impacts of the agro-food products;

b) knowledge of the major environmental indicators currently employed to measure the impact of agro-food products;

c) knowledge of the framework of a Life Cycle Assessment, main impact categories, their related potential and knowledge of specific ISO standards and their application;

d) deep knowledge of strategies of environmentally sustainable rationalization of processes and energy use;

e) knowledge of regulations regarding the environmental performance of a product, types of environmental certifications and the communication of the performance.


Applying knowledge and understanding

a) ability to combine innovation and sustainability in order to identifying strategies for agro-food process optimization;

b) ability to perform quantitative monitoring and report about the energy and environmental impact of agro-food processes for quality assurance and certification

c) ability to carry out sustainability assessments of production processes managing the procedures for the environmental certification.



a) autonomy of judgement: plan actions and manage activities aiming to improve the quality and efficiency of food and beverage production taking into consideration the consequences and the efficacy of company's strategies on sustainability; identify and suggest the best practices at the different levels of the production process to improve energy and environmental sustainability.

b) communication skills: Clearly and exhaustively communicate notions, ideas, problems and technical solutions to interlocutors, either professional or not, representative of the various and specific competencies in the agro-food supply chain.


Sustainability: definitions, aspects, initiatives. Resource depletion and environmental impact. Energy consumption for different sectors and role of the agro-food industry. (0.5 CFU)

Agro-food industry: raw materials, packaging materials, transport, energy consumption, by-products, residues and wastes. Impact mitigation methods: process efficiency, alternative energy sources, waste and residue management. (1 CFU)

Life Cycle Assessment and related ISO standards. LCA framework, functional unit, system boundaries, life cycle inventory, impact assessment, impact allocation. Indicators employed for impact assessment of  agro-food products: Carbon Footprint, Water Footprint, Ecological Footprint and related ISO standards. Substances affecting impacts: definition of GWP - Global Warming Potential, AP - Acidification Potential and other potentials. (2 CFU)

LCA result communication: Product Category Rules (PCR) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), environmental labelling. (0.5 CFU)

Software and tools for LCA assessment. Case studies. LCA application, sensitivity analysis (2 CFU)

Development of the examination

Learning evaluation methods

Examination is based on a written examination regarding a case study followed by an interview on the case study and on two other subjects of the syllabus.


Learning evaluation criteria

During the interview the student shall show: a) knowledge of definitions and technical language associated to energy and environmental sustainability and certification; b) knowledge and understanding of methods and environmental indicators currently employed to measure the impact of agro-food products; c) the ability to carry out sustainability assessments of production processes managing the procedures for the environmental certification.


Learning measurement criteria

The vote is expressed as thirtieths.


Final mark allocation criteria

The written examination on the case study with the following interview on the case study will count a maximum of 10 points. The other two questions will count for 10 points each one. To pass the examination the student shall demonstrate a good knowledge of contents with an adequate oral exposition by using the technical terminology. The maximum vote will be acquired with a deep knowledge of contents, a very good exposition and by demonstrating the ability to carry out a consistent sustainability assessment.

Recommended reading


- Baldwin CJ (2009) Sustainability in the Food Industry. Institute of Food Technologists Series. Vol. 35 Wiley-Blackwell, Ames, Iowa (USA).

- Sonesson U, Berlin J, Ziegler F (2010) Environmental assessment and management in the food industry. Life cycle assessment and related approaches. Woodhead Publishing, Oxford.


The didactic and other support material is available on the web platform.





Università Politecnica delle Marche
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Tel (+39) 071.220.1, Fax (+39) 071.220.2324
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