Food Structure

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims at providing students with the knowledge necessary to understand the importance of food structure for technological, sensory, and nutritional properties. The course will be based on a hands-on approach in order to provide a deep knowledge of fundamental principles and methods (both traditional and innovative) for the evaluation of food macrostructure.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, the students will be able to: choose the suitable method for the structural evaluation of a food material; optimize the analysis conditions; explain the relationship between micro- and macro-structure; elaborate and discuss experimental data; write a technical report.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
In case of emergency, lectures will be given live on Microsoft Teams, according to the second semester schedule. They will be also registered and made available for students on Teams. Lab practices will be organized taking into account the social distancing measures.
Classroom activities will be organized if the emergency instructions will allow them. Further indications will be published on the Ariel website of the course.
If necessary, the oral examination will be performed on Microsoft Teams.
Course syllabus
Course main topics:
- Physical, mechanical and ultrastructural properties of food: Geometrical, mechanical and technological material properties. Importance of food texture; glossary; interaction with sensory perception. Importance of food ultrastructure and its implication with sensory and nutritional properties. Actual examples of the influence of some constituents and technological treatments on food texture and ultrastructure.
- Analytical methods for food texture evaluation: Fundamental, empirical, and imitative methods. Instruments and operative conditions; effects on analytical results. Compression, penetration, cut-shear, compression-extrusion, bending-snapping, tensile, and adhesion tests. Actual examples of texture measurements for different kind of foods. Practices on food texture evaluation. Statistical elaboration of experimental data.
- Food rheology: Viscosity and rheology. Material classification based on rheological behavior. Viscometers and rheometers. Different tests for rheological behavior evaluation. Actual examples of rheological measurements for different kinds of food materials. Practices on food rheology evaluation.
- Food color: Color perception and theory. Reference systems and methods for the objective measurement of color. Colorimeters and spectrophotometers. Actual examples of food color measurements and issues.
- Image analysis: Image theory; glossary. Image acquisition methods and issues. Image analysis techniques. Actual examples and practices on food image analysis.
Prerequisites for admission
Teaching methods
The course is organized in lectures and practices. During practices some of the studied methodologies will be applied to different food materials; data elaboration and literature survey will be also carried out. A practical case study might be voluntarily developed by groups of students.
Teaching Resources
Lecture slides and notes; literature material distributed by the teacher.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral examination will cover all the lecture and practice contents. In particular the knowledge acquired by the student and the ability to plan structural analyses of a food matrix will be evaluated, as well as the comprehension of the possible results.
Students will also have the possibility to develop in laboratory a practical case study on food texture, after division into small groups. The presentation of a scientific report is in this case required, demonstrating the acquired skills on food texture evaluation and the ability in the critical discussion of ultrastructural data found in the scientific literature. The oral examination will start from the report discussion, widening then to some theoretical and practical concepts illustrated during the course.
AGR/15 - FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - University credits: 4
Laboratories: 24 hours
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Alamprese Cristina
Educational website(s)