66327 - Chemistry of Natural Organic Substances

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The course will give competencies , in main classes of natural products, their occurrence, structure, biosynthesis, properties, and in natural product chemistry. The course will give a holistic understanding of the use of natural products as starting materials for bioactive products.

After successful completion of this course, students should be able to understand the issues of natural product chemistry, recognize structure and molecular classification of a representative number of compounds belonging to the main classes of natural products, know the relevance of selected natural compounds, their biogenesis, and some chemical elaboration.

Course contents

The most important classes of natural organic compounds will be analyzed in terms of chemical structure, biogenesis, stereochemistry, physico-chemical properties, and reactivity.

A good knowledge of functional groups and reactivity in organic chemistry is strongly required. Basic knowledge of simple aminoacids, carbohydrates, and lipids is recommended.

Carbohydrate: Natural glycans and glycosides. Protecting Group strategies in the synthesis of glycosides. Stereoselective synthesis of glycosides. Glycolipids and glycoproteins.

Terpenes and Steroids: Classification, structures and some chemical and bio-catalytic transformations. Essential oils: extraction and components.

Alcaloids: classification, structures, and biogenesis.

Polyketides: classification, structures and biogenesis.

Beta-lactams: classification and biogenesis. Synthetic methodologies of the beta-lactam ring


Lecture Notes

Chemistry, Biosynthesis and Bioactivities of Natural products -P.M. Dewick

Introduction to Natural products Chemistry - Xu,Ye, Zhao, CRC Press

Chemistry of Natural Products , N.R. Krishnaswamy, CRC Press

Bioactive Natural Products - Colegate, Molyneaux, CRC Press

Teaching methods

Lessons consist in oral sessions that include presentations of examples by current literature and discussions.

An active student participation to the discussion session is strongly recommended to develop problem solving skills.

Assessment methods

Viva voce examination (English or Italian on request) on the course topics.

Excellent degree (28-30) will be acquired with a good assessment that obtained with a very good knowledge of the contents of the course , a good usage of technical language, and high performance in reasoning and application of the competences.

Fairly good assessments (24-27) could be obtained with a good knowledge of the contents, an appropriate usage of technical language, but with a rote-learning.

Limited abilities in reasoning and application  of the contents,  a limited technical language, and a sufficient knowledge of contents will give a sufficient assessment (18-23)

Inadequate knowledge of contents and/or technical language and/or insufficiency in preliminary knowledge in organic chemistry will give a negative assessment.

Teaching tools

Oral lectures and few computer presentations that could be retrived on the web platform IoL upon registration.
Take notes during the lectures is mandatory.

Office hours

See the website of Daria Giacomini