Chemistry and Food
Today food paradigmatically represents the complexity and interconnectedness of knowledges where themes such as health, education, culture and enhancing the excellence of local productions are intertwined with promoting an inclusive and sustainable development and coping strategies to climate change.
The European Union recognizes that every citizen has the right to know how the food he eats is produced, processed, packaged, labelled and sold.
From primary production, and even before from the quality of the environment in which is produced, along the entire process of transformation, packaging, storage and sale, until reaching our tables, chemistry plays a fundamental role in defining the chemical characteristics of food , ensuring its integrity, monitor its safety and, finally, valorize waste in the frame of the circular and sustainable economy.
In this context, the research at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Turin aims at suggesting new analytical solutions for the controls of authenticity, security and safety of food; developing intelligent materials for its conservation; studying new models for the valorization of waste and, last but not least, promoting healthy eating styles.
In these challenges, the Department of Chemistry has long collaborated with the various players in the production sector and with other scientific disciplines at local, national and international level.
Linee di ricerca
- Development of methods of analysis based on magnetic resonance (NMR) for the certification of origin, traceability and authenticity of foods (Gobetto, Chierotti, Garino).
- Inorganic composition and redox profile as possible markers of origin and quality of food (Abollino, Malandrino).
Development of analytical methods based on spectroscopic techniques (FT-IR, FT-NIR, Raman) for the construction of molecular fingerprint recognition models for samples with protected designations (in collaboration with INRiM) (Martra).
- Development and use of nanostructured molecular imprinted materials for the extraction and the selective pre-concentration of contaminants (Anfossi, Baggiani).
- Development of rapid methods of analysis based on ELISA and Lateral Flow Immunoassay techniques for the determination of allergens and food contaminants (Anfossi, Baggiani).
- Determination of contamination from trace metals and arsenic in food, food supplements and feed using ICP-OES, ICP-MS and voltammetry (Abollino, Malandrino).
- Development of electrochemical sensors for on-site monitoring of potentially toxic elements (such as As, Hg, Cd and Pb) contained in food (Abollino, Malandrino).
- Influence of environmental pollutions (air, soil and water pollution) on agricultural products: total concentration, fractionation and bioavailability of metals and arsenic using ICP-OES, ICP-MS and voltammetry (Abollino, Malandrino).
- Development of spectroscopic and hyperspectral imaging techniques for contaminant detection (in collaboration with INRiM) (Martra).
- Development of techniques based on the Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering for increasing the sensitivity of Raman spectroscopy (in collaboration with INRiM) (Martra).
- Investigation of release of compounds and monomers from plastic material used in food packaging (on dairy products) (Ginepro).
- Evaluation of the release of potentially toxic elements from packaging and possible absorption by foods through ICP-OES, ICP-MS and voltammetry (Abollino, Malandrino).
- Development of biocompatible, biocompostable and heat-resistant polymeric films with a barrier effect against water, air and grease (Barolo).
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of gold and silver nanoparticles as antibacterial for food packaging through in-vitro bacterial viability tests and Raman spectroscopy (in collaboration with INRiM) (Martra).
- Development of formulations (crystalline forms, salts, co-crystals ...) to improve the absorption (bioavailability) of nutraceuticals (Gobetto, Chierotti, Garino)
- Development and use of nanostructured molecular imprinted materials for the extraction and the selective pre-concentration (Anfossi, Baggiani)
- Evaluation of trace metal and arsenic contamination in nutraceutical + E32 products by ICP-OES, ICP-MS and voltammetry (Abollino, Malandrino)
- Isolation, characterization and environmental and technological applications of bio-based materials derived from agri food waste (Bianco Prevot, Berto, Calza, Fabbri, Laurenti, Magnacca, Minella).
- Converting food waste into energy, post-extraction of active ingredients and valuable components to be used in the food and cosmetic industry (Ginepro).
- Use of food by-products (e.g. rice husk, nutshells,…) as adsorbents of inorganic and organic pollutants in wastewater treatment (Abollino, Malandrino).
- Design, synthesis and characterization of heterogeneous catalysts, based on Group IV metal oxides for the valorization of the wood-cellulose residue of food (Cerrato).
- Study on by-products of the confectionery industry, such as cocoa bean integuments, using a multi-analytical approach to define the chemical profile based on the variety and geographical origin (in collaborazione con INRiM) (Martra).
- Training for teachers and students of all levels, including Primary Education Sciences Master’s students who carry out experimental activities in schools for their degree thesis (Cerrato, Operti, Turco)
- Dissemination and communication activities for the promotion of healthy nutrition (based on the Mediterranean diet) (Cerrato, Operti, Turco)
- Production of printed matter, e-books and websites for promoting healthy nutrition for children and students from early childhood to senior high school (Cerrato, Operti, Turco)