Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


A.Y. Credits
2018/2019 2
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Gilberto Spadoni
Teaching in foreign languages
Course with optional materials in a foreign language English
This course is entirely taught in Italian. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Pharmacy (LM-13)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

The aim of the course is to give to the students knowledge about chemical structures and healthy properties of food components (micronutrients and nutraceuticals) used in human nutrition. Furthermore, the course provides  students  with knowledge  on the specific legislation, nutritional properties, chemical composition and biological activity of the most important categories of food supplements, functional foods, foods for special medical purposes.


Mineral elements; macroelements and microelements; distribution in the human body. Food sources and bioavailability, nutritional qualities, Safety nutritional requirements (RDA), deficiency and toxicity.

Vitamins. Chemical structures, chemical and physical properties, reactivity and bioavailability. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), Water-soluble vitamins (B vitamins, folic acid, ascorbic acid): biological roles and diseases associated to their deficiencies, Safety nutritional requirements (RDA),  food sources.

Food Supplements: definition, composition, legislation, labeling, presentation and advertising, goals and guidelines. Food supplements aimed at compensating for saline/water losses. Food supplements based on minerals. Amino acids supplements. Food supplements of vitamins. Lipid supplements.

Foods for special medical purposes: definition, composition, legislation, labeling, and some examples. Demarcation guidelines between food supplements and products intended for particular nutritional uses. Food intended for infants and young children, and total diet replacement for weight control;  novel and functional foods: definition and examples. Fortified foods: definition and examples.

Prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics: definition, composition and examples.

Nutraceuticals: definition, composition, presence in foods and examples of their use for health maintenance supported by in vitro and in vivo studies.

Coffee, Tea and Cocoa: compositional characteristics from   botanical and chemical point of views, geographical distribution, technological treatments, biologically active secondary metabolites, aroma and taste.

Food additives: definition, toxicity, chemical structures, some examples and use of the various classes (sweeteners, colorants, preservatives, flavorings, thickeners, emulsifiers, stabilizers)

Food supplements for antioxidant action: classification, mechanisms of antioxidant action, vitamin E, C, A and carotenoids, phenolic derivatives, thiols and glutathione, synergistic actions.

Bridging Courses

Passing Organic Chemistry and Nutritional Biochemistry

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

D1-KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING. At the end of the course, the student will acquire knowledge about the chemical and biological properties of some food components (including vitamins and minaerals), and knowledge of the most important categories of food supplements, functional foods and foods for special medical purposes, including the specific legislation and presentation of these products for sale in pharmacies . It must also know the nutritional composition of the foods studied.

D2-APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING. At the end of the course, the student must also be able to describe and show the required properties to define a functional food or a nutraceutical food. The student will be familiar with the problem of evaluation of the scientific support for health and nutritional claims by EFSA.

D3-MAKING JUDGEMENTS. At the end of the course, the student must be able to correctly evaluate the nutritional quality of functional and nutraceutical foods, with particular care at the chemical composition, the analysis of the label and their appropriate use.

D4 - COMMUNICATION SKILLS. Upon completion of this educational activity, the student will be able to express themselves clearly and with proper scientific terms, in order to describe the composition, formulation and use of ordinary foods and the most important categories of food supplements, including functional and nutraceutical foods.

D5 - LEARNING SKILLS. At the end of the course the student will be able to find and learn independently new scientific guidelines relating to the science of food and nutraceuticals. The student will also be able to continue his/her long learning education attending master degrees related to human nutrition and health products.

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

The teaching material and specific communications from the lecturer can be found, together with other supporting activities, inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Teaching, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Frontal oral lessons including student-teacher interaction with discussion of proposed cases in order to ensure the achievement of the main above mentioned objectives.


For a good comprehension of the topics treated in this course, student must have the basic knowledge of chemistry, organic chemistry and nutritional biochemistry
In general, regular attendance at lessons facilitates the acquisition of the skills needed to pass the exam.

Course books

P. Cappelli, V. Vannucchi: Principi di Chimica degli Alimenti, Ed. Zanichelli (Bologna), chapters 5-8, 10-16 e 28

P. Cabras, A. Martelli: Chimica degli Alimenti, Ed. Piccin (Padova), chapters 5,6,8,13, 21 e 30


Written or oral (lasting about 30-40 minutes) examination aimed at assessing the level of knowledge and understanding achieved by students on the theoretical contents listed in the program. Questions are asked about the main food components described in the program, with particular reference to chemical structure, physico-chemical properties, bioavailability, distribution in food, legislative aspects and to critical evaluation of the scientific evidences supporting, health and nutritional claims. We will also evaluate the presentation skills and the student's ability to interconnect the various topics covered during the course and in an interdisciplinary manner.

Disability and Specific Learning Disorders (SLD)

Students who have registered their disability certification or SLD certification with the Inclusion and Right to Study Office can request to use conceptual maps (for keywords) during exams.

To this end, it is necessary to send the maps, two weeks before the exam date, to the course instructor, who will verify their compliance with the university guidelines and may request modifications.

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