Molecular bases of taste

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with the knowledge about specific taste active compounds in food, their molecular mechanisms and their industrial applications.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students will be able to use the main classes of taste active compounds, (natural and synthetic), their mechanism of action, the mechanisms of their perception, their modifications, the mechanisms of inhibition and synergy. Moreover, students will be able to use the suitable techniques to discover new taste active compounds.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Teaching methods
Lessons will be in presence if this will be possible at the beginning of academic year. Participation to lessons will be reserved using a app; all information will be posted on the Ariel web site as well as materials and other communications related to Covid-19 emergency rules.
If lessons in presence will not be allowed, they will be given online with the Microsoft Teams platform , both in synchron (see first semester timetable) and in asynchron (recording on Teams).

Program and didactic material will not change

Exam modalities will not change; the exam will be oral, in presence or online with Microsoft Teams.
Course syllabus
1 Taste: hystory, mechanisms, classification
1.1. Taste in history
1.2. How many basic tastes do we have: the so called "fundamental tastes" vs "receptor mediated tastes"
1.3. Taste receptors: how do they work

2 Taste compounds: sources, isolation and properties
2.1 Salty and umami
2.2 Sour
2.3 Bitter : alkaloids, terpenoids, polyphenols, glucosinolates; synthetic ultra bitter cpds
2.4 Sweet : natural and synthetic bulk and intensive sweeteners.

3 Somatosensory and other gustative sensations
3.1 The TRP active compounds: cooling, hot, tingling, numbing etc.
3.2 Other related sensations: astringent, metallic, kokumi; the "fat taste"; other unclassified gustative sensations
3.3 Taste modyfiers, enhancers and inhibitors

4) Rational design of taste active compounds
4.1 Taste and the other senses
4.2 Nutrigenomics of taste; taste and pain; taste and diseases.
4.3 (Q)SARs for the design of taste active compounds; Molecular modelling tools; Natural vs synthetic compounds.
4.4 Practical guidelines for taste researchers (ethics, toxicology, technology problems to be solved)
Prerequisites for admission
Organic chemistry; biochemistry
Teaching methods
Course will be held in English (or in Italian in case of students exclusively Italian mothertongue). Course consists in lessons, group working on bibliography readings, discussion and analysis of data. Books and didactic material will be suggested during the course; Slides by the teacher will be available for download from the Ariel web site
Teaching Resources
Slides by the teacher (Ariel).
Books for consulting:
R.S.Shallenberger, Taste chemistry, Blackie academic &professional, 1993
D.Kratwurst ed, Taste and smell, Springer, 2017
R.L.Doty ed, Smell and taste, Handbook of clinical neurology series, vol 164, Elsevier, 2019
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam can be either in English or Italian according to student's preference. The exam will be a discussion or a presentation on a topic selected by the student and previously agreed with the teacher, followed by a discussion. The evaluation criteria are: acquisition of contents; ability to rielaborate autonomally the contents; ability to apply the theoretical contents to practical cases in the students's professional environment.
CHIM/06 - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY - University credits: 4
Lessons: 32 hours
Professor: Bassoli Angela
by appointment
my office, DISMA, Via Celoria 2, Milano