D3a - Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)
Basic knowledge of genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology.
A variety of teaching methods are used to enhance and optimise student learning; in particular, along with classroom lectures (4 ECTS, 36 hours), the course consists of other activities (2 ECTS, 18 hours) such as laboratory practical classes, discussions with students throughout the lessons using scientific articles, seminars and visits to national institutes carrying out laboratory analyses. In parallel, an e-learning version of the course using the Moodle platform will be available, including teaching materials organised in learning units, self-evaluation tests and results, information and booking for seminars and visits.
Knowledge and understanding:
(a) Acquiring knowledge and understanding of the importance of preserving, analyzing and exploiting genetic resources and their variability for food and feeding; (b) acquiring knowledge of the methods for bio-molecular tracing of food products and for its certification; (c) acquiring knowledge of the most recent molecular techniques (‘omics’ technologies), that can be exploited for food traceability.
Applying knowledge and understanding:
a) Developing the capability of integration of information (genetic resources, their use for food production and safety and quality of food); (b) ability to design analytical approaches to investigate the safety and quality of raw materials and finished food products and to recognize their strengths and limitations; (c) capability of evaluate the potentiality of innovative molecular techniques for traceability of food.
(a) Acquiring the capacity for autonomous conscious judgment with respect to the evaluation and interpretation of experimental data in the aim to identify consistent and inconsistent conclusions; (b) use scientific terminology to account for analytical results; (c) acquire the ability to develop and update competences autonomously through the search of material in scientific articles and through the consultation of databases reporting validated analytical methods for molecular traceability of foods.
1. Overview on genetic resources, their conservation and importance for agriculture and food production (credits: 1.0 ECTS, 9 hours);
2. Genomics and molecular methods, including a view on the main ‘omics’ techniques (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics) to apply for the analysis of genetic resources for food science and for food traceability and security (credits: 2.0 ECTS, 18 hours):
(a) Genomics, genome structure and organization, molecular markers and genome analysis, nucleic acid extraction’s methodologies, advanced DNA sequencing and amplification’s technologies, molecular techniques and omics technologies (Transcriptomics, Metabolomics and Proteomics) for the analysis of seeds, plants, and derived products.
(b) Data analysis through statistical methods and models and interpretation of the results.
3. Case studies (Credits: 3 ECTS, 27 hours): several examples of application of the most advanced technologies, the omics approach, in food science will be illustrated trough theoretical lessons, laboratory practical classes, discussions on scientific articles, seminars and visits. Examples include analysis of volatile compounds for the authentication of wine and derived products, analysis of specific DNA sequences for food safety and quality, genomic and metabolomic analyses to assess the authenticity of cereals and cereal-based products (i.e. pasta), DNA-based methods for authentication of meat and meat products, and of edible plant oils.
Learning evaluation methods
Oral discussion on the course contents and critical lecture of a scientific paper. During the course, there are also going to be available self-evaluation tests (e-learning mode), in order to provide the students useful information about their skill level.
Learning evaluation criteria
The student will have to demonstrate: (a) knowledge on fundamentals of molecular biological techniques in problem solving strategies for tracing food; (b) ability to search of material in specialized texts and scientific articles and through consultation of databases containing validated analytical methods for molecular traceability of foods; (c) appropriate usage of the technical lexicon.
Learning measurement criteria
The final mark is attributed in thirtieths. Successful completion of the examination will lead to grades ranging from 18 to 30 with honors.
Final mark allocation criteria
The final test consists in oral examination about the course contents and critical lecture of a scientific paper.
In order to pass the examination, the student will have to demonstrate: (a) overall understanding of the subjects; (b) appropriate usage of technical terminology. In order to obtain the best evaluation, the student will have to demonstrate: (a) in-depth knowledge and understanding of the subjects; (b) fluency in the usage of the technical lexicon; (c) ability to use all the information acquired to assess appropriate strategies to be applied to different case studies.
Original Power Point presentations, other supplementary material in electronic format and scientific articles provided by the teacher during the course.
All other educational material is available on the e-learning web platform.