67120 - Plants, Food and Environment

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will acquire knowledge to analyze and to discuss issues concerning plant molecules important as food and health, their relevance as nutraceutical and as critical component for food safeness. Moreover, students will acquire knowledge on: 1. the importance of plants to monitor the environmental quality and to influence it by releasing biological particles as pollens; 2. the use of plants as tools for bioremediation. In the laboratory students will acquire the tecniques to extract molecule with antioxidant activities, the tecniques to check the antioxidant activity of some food as well as those  to test the viability of the cell; tests of citotoxicity in the presence of pollutants will be made.

Course contents

To deepen some aspect of plant citology, with particular attention to vacuole, its contents in different plant species and to cell walls. Secondary metabolites. Terpenoids, alkaloids, phenylpropanoids and glycosides. Roles of these molecules for plants and their importance for humans. Nutraceutic. Plant molecules with anti cancer effect. How to evaluate antioxidant properties of plant foods. Plant tissues that accumulate strage. Storage proteins: albumin, globulin and prolammin and their importance as food. Mycotoxins. The gluten. Food allergens derived from plants and respiratory allergens derived from pollens. Main allergens aerodisperse: pollen and  spores.  Pollen and fertilization. The self-incompatibility, an evolutive mechanism useful to preserve biodiversity: the different way of self-incompatibility in the different plant families. Aerobiology. How to recognize the main allergenic pollens at microscope. Plant that cause allergies. Tinctorial plants. Plants for bioremediation.



Papers on Italian and international journals

Buchanan et al., Biochimica e Biologia Molecolare delle Piante, Zanichelli


5.1; 5.2; 5.3; 5.4; 5.5;5.6; 5.7; 5.8; 5.9

19, 20, 21


Teaching methods

Oral presentations  and practice; in the second case, student will be able to measure the antioxidant capacity of some food and to recognize at microscope the main allergenic pollen

Assessment methods

Test with 5 questions; each question has 4 replies among which students will select the right one/s; then an oral question on the programme

Teaching tools

Lectures in power points and lab activities

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Del Duca