First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCL1001864, A.A. 2018/19

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1170, Degree course structure A.Y. 2015/16, A.Y. 2018/19
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination BIOPOLYMERS
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Chemical Sciences
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge STEFANO MAMMI CHIM/04

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses CHIM/04 Industrial Chemistry 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 01/10/2018
End of activities 18/01/2019

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
1 a.a. 2018/19 22/01/2018 30/11/2019 MAMMI STEFANO (Presidente)
BELLANDA MASSIMO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: None beyond the requisites for admission to the Master's course.
Target skills and knowledge: The course describes in general terms the study of structural properties of biological macromolecules, such as polypeptides and proteins, polynucleotides and polysaccharides. The course is divided into three parts: in the first one, the structural properties of natural and synthetic biopolymers are described and discussed while the second describes some industrial applications of artificial and natural biopolymers and biocompatible and/or biodegradable polymers; finally, the main methods for the study of conformations, interactions and conformational transitions of biopolymers are considered in the third part.
Examination methods: The exam is oral and consists in a discussion over the properties, the production, the experiments and the instrumental techniques to study one of the classes of biopolymers described in the lectures.
Assessment criteria: The acquisition of the knowledge and of the abilities relative to the content described below will be evaluated.
Course unit contents: The program is divided into the following points:
1) Polypeptides and protein macromolecules.
Chemistry and stereochemistry of peptide residues. Concepts of primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure. Sequencing and synthesis of polypeptides. Description of various types of ordered conformations of polypeptide chains. Outline of predictive methods of secondary and tertiary structures. Conformational analysis and forces that determine the structure of peptides and proteins.
2) Polynucleotides
Chemistry and stereochemistry of nucleotides. Typical properties of purine and pyrimidine bases and their derivatives. Primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures of nucleic acids. Structural differences between DNA and RNA. Conformational analysis and forces that determine the structure of nucleic acids.
3) Industrial production of proteins
PCR. Main molecular biology techniques for the production of proteins. Industrial applications.
4) Polysaccharides
Chemistry and stereochemistry of structural units of polysaccharides. Structures of monosaccharides, disaccharides, homopolysaccharides, heteropolysaccharides. Mention of the structure of some peptidoglycan.
5) Industrial Biopolymers
Biomass. Concept of Biorefineries. Production of energy and chemicals from biomass.
Modified polysaccharides in the food industry.
Modified polysaccharides and plastics: blends of starch and synthetic polymers, acidic polysaccharides, cellulose, chitin, chitosan.
Development and production of polymers from renewable sources. Derivatives of vegetable oils. Polyhydroxyalkanoates. PLA. Protein derivatives.
Biocompatible polymers. Hyaluronic acid and derivatives. Polymeric biomaterials.
6) Analytical techniques for the study of the structural properties of biopolymers.
Characterization and separation of biopolymers on the basis of their hydrodynamic properties: ultracentrifugation, electrophoresis, light scattering, size exclusion chromatography.
Spectroscopy applied to the study of biopolymers: UV-Vis, circular dichroism, IR, fluorescence, MS.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Classroom lectures.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Handouts and students’ notes.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • van Holde, Principles of physical biochemistry. --: --, --. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

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