Phytopharmaceuticals: Chemistry and Analysis

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Phytopharmaceutical Chemistry and Analysis course included in undergraduate program of Herbal Sciences and Technologies provides the student with the fundamental notions in order to manage and apply the most appropriate method for the identification and analysis of phytopharmaceutical compounds. Based on the theoretical concepts provided during the lectures and thanks to the practical training in laboratory, the aim of the course is to improve the critical skills of the student, essential for approaching and solving analytical challenges in the phytopharmaceutical field.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course of Phytopharmaceutical Chemistry and Analysis the student will properly manage the techniques of conservation, sampling, isolation extraction and analysis of compounds in the phytopharmaceutical field. The student will be able to apply during the practical training in laboratory the acquired knowledges. The student is expected to demonstrate a critical spirit in order to obtain robust and reproducible experimental analytical data.
During the final examination, the student must also understand the proposed questions, choose and fully demonstrate the knowledge acquired during the lectures and the laboratory experiences.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Lessons will be held for 50% on the Microsoft Teams platform and can be followed on the basis of the timetable of the second semester both in synchronous and asynchronous since they are recorded and left available to students on the ARIEL platform and the remaining 50% will be provided in presence. The methods and criteria for participating in face-to-face lessons, which require a reservation with a special app, will be published in time on the Ariel pages of the course, as well as notices relating to any update related to the evolution of the legislation imposed by Covid- 19.

The program and reference material will not be affected.
The exam will take place orally using the Microsoft Teams platform or, where the regulations allow, in written form.

Practical training scheduled for the second semester will be performed 50% on-campus. The remaining 50% will be held synchronously via the Microsoft Teams platform. In particular, the student will carry out a virtual laboratory training for the identification and analysis of phytopharmaceutical compounds. A specific Teams channel, containing video recorded by professors in laboratory, will allow the students to perform virtual analyses. If the regulations concerning social distancing imposed by Covid-19 do not allow face-to-face practical training, the laboratory lessons will be held completely by remote access. The recorded lessons will remain available for the students on Microsoft Teams to allow the access in asynchronous mode.

The program and reference material will not be modified and will be available for the students on the Ariel platform (pdf lessons) and on Microsoft Teams (video).

The exam will take place in the laboratory and will consist in the identification and analysis of two unknown phytopharmaceutical compounds. Remote exams will be carried out if the regulations imposed by the authorities for the Covid-19 emergency do not allow the presence on-campus. In this case, the phytopharmaceutical compounds will be analyzed by using a virtual platform; the student will be also asked to write a report and send it to the Professors by e-mail. The results of the exam will be notified to the students in the same way. The final grade, expressed in thirtieths, will be determined by the weighted average of the grades obtained in the two parts of the examination.
Course syllabus
Classroom lessons will deal with the following topics:
Sampling and conservation of a plant-based drug for analysis.
Drug preparation: mechanical methods (crushing, shredding, squeezing). Extraction of active ingredients: traditional methods (infusion, decoction, maceration, percolation, enfleurage, continuous extraction, current and countercurrent distillation) and more modern methods (extraction with supercritical fluids, microwave-assisted extraction with solvents, ultrasound-assisted extraction, ultrasound-assisted extraction, Naviglio Extractor). Classification of the extracts (fluid, soft and dry extracts), dyes, hydrolites, alcoholates, hydrolates, elixirs, essences. Calculation of alcohol content. Traditional purification methods: crystallization, lyophilization and sublimation recrystallization.
Recognition of substances reported in EP: Organoleptic analysis (physical state, color, odor), structure-state physical relationships; determination of physical constants (melting point and boiling point); solubility tests in water and in organic solvent, pH and pKa; qualitative elementary analysis; recognition of main functional groups (alcohols, phenols, amines, carboxylic acids and their derivatives); Recognition of alkaloids reported in EP; optical methods used in the analysis: refraction index and polarimetry. Theory and applications of chromatography: TLC.
The contents of the lectures will be applied during single-laboratory laboratory exercises. In detail we will proceed to the analysis of organic and organometallic compounds. In particular, the following will be carried out: combustion tests and residue analysis; recognition of metals in organometallic substances registered in the F.U; preparation of Lassaigne's solution for the detection of nitrogen, sulfur, halogens and phosphorus; search for halogens by calcination test; search for phosphates using an oxidizing mixture; solubility studies of organic substances (in water and reactive solvents) and their classification. Furthermore, tests will be carried out for the recognition of functional groups in organic substances: alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, polyalcohols, sugars, carboxylic acids, α-oxyacids, phenols, amines, amino acids, esters, amides. Classes of substances of substances of natural origin such as xanthines, alkaloids and glycosides will finally be recognized through the application of specific tests.
Prerequisites for admission
The preliminary knowledge necessary to adequately deal with the topics of the course foresee the basic notions of organic and inorganic chemistry provided during the preparatory courses as indicated in the Manifesto.
Teaching methods
The course includes lectures and single-seat exercises in the laboratory. During the classroom lectures the topics will be illustrated through the use of slides or videos moreover specific exercises based on case studies taken from recent literature will be considered .
The student's lab training is based on the analysis of known and unknown substances.
Teaching Resources
Supporting Materials is allocated on Ariel web site furthermore the following books are suggested:
- Morelli, G. Flamini, L. Pistelli -MANUALE DELL'ERBORISTA- Tecniche Nuove;
- V. Cavrini, V. Andrisano -ANALISI FARMACEUTICA- Esculapio;
- F. Savelli, O. Bruno - ANALISI CHIMICO FARMACEUTICA- Piccin.
- Farmacopea Ufficiale Italiana X Edizione.
- A. Carta, MG. Mamolo, F. Novelli, S. Piras. ANALISI FARMACEUTICA QUALITATIVA, Edises.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam includes altogether a written test and a laboratory test.
The 90 minutes written exam generally consists of 3-4 open questions regarding the program carried out during the lessons. One of the questions involves the analysis and commentary of experimental data taken from international scientific publications.
The evaluation of the written test will take into account the student's ability to understand the question and to explain through the use of an appropriate scientific language how to apply the knowledge acquired thanks to the attendance of this course .
The laboratory test consists in the qualitative recognition of two unknown substances; during the test the student can use the laboratory notes and the Official Pharmacopoeia.
The evaluation of the test will consider the student's ability to know how to apply the main methods of qualitative analysis in order to identify isolated active ingredients of natural origin and the ability to manage the related problems independently. The result of the written test and the laboratory test will be expressed in thirtieths. The final result will correspond to the weighted average of the evaluations achieved in the two tests and will be expressed in thirtieths.
CHIM/08 - PHARMACEUTICAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 8
Single bench laboratory practical: 32 hours
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Fumagalli Laura
Turno 1
Professor: Gandolfi Raffaella
Turno 2
Professor: Villa Stefania