University of Parma

To better face the many challenges in terms of food production from both a qualitative and quantitative viewpoint, training competent specialists able to operate at international level in the various areas and disciplines involved has to be considered a priority. 

This results in the need of organizing excellent training programs, all embedded within the University of Parma Food Project. The faculty of the food related courses at the University of Parma includes internationally recognised researchers in many scientific fields, involved in several national and international projects. There are agronomists, engineers, doctors, microbiologists, nutritionists, food technologists, humanists, veterinarians, all involved in the 360° training of bachelor and graduate students.

The University of Parma carries out BSc courses in Food Sciences and Technology, Gastronomic Sciences, Food System: Management, Sustainability and Technologies, Livestock Sciences and Animal Production Technology and Food System Sustainable Design. 

Among the MSc, we can list, once again, the advanced course in Food Science and Technology, but also Human Nutrition Sciences, Food Safety and Food Risk Management, Food Sciences for Innovation and Authenticity, Food Quality Systems and Gastronomy Management, Innovative and Sustainable Livestock Production, Engineering for the Food Industry, Biology and Biomedical Applications, with a Curriculum in Biology of Nutrition.

At post-graduate level, the University of Parma has recently founded the School of Advanced Studies on Food & Nutrition, which organizes and carries out several courses for students willing to continue their education beyond the MSc and for professionals in the field of food science. The School includes the PhD in Food Science, post graduate specialization courses, summer and winter schools and its array of teaching opportunities is continuously updated on the School website.

Additionally, our Department of Medicine and Surgery offers a specialization course in Clinical Nutrition. 




European project (Empowering consumers to PREVENT diet-related diseases through OMICS sciences) PREVENTOMICS personalised plans for nutrition and lifestyle habits to improve the health of people are based on individual traits such as physical and behavioural traits, lifestyle, genotype, preferences and physical condition and will reach the recipients  in the form of behavioural prompts, thanks to the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools.

The project opens the door to the personalisation of treatments for the prevention of noncommunicable diseases through nutrition.

Three interventional studies are being conducted.

One study examines the soundness of PREVENTOMICS retailer app to support participants in personalising their nutrition, empowering the choice preferences and promoting favourable and sustained changes in dietary behaviour.

One plan is to investigate whether personalised delivery meals and dietary advices are able to promote a greater reduction in excess body fat and weight, as well as producing favourable changes in overall health, compared to meals based on general dietary recommendations in men and women aged 18-65 years with excess body weight.

One plan is to compare the effects on weight loss and changes in the metabolism of general nutritional advice from a dietitian versus more personalised advice based on each individual’s physical and behavioural traits, lifestyle and preferences.

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Strengthening European Food Chain Sustainability by Quality and Procurement Policy – European project 

Within the project, a smartphone application has been developed to support families in choosing and preparing balanced menus for children. An example of a nutritional app developed for families having children is represented by NUBI, which is the acronym for NUtrizione BImbi (literally Nutrition for Children), a smartphone application developed thanks to the collaboration with the Municipality of Parma (Italy). The app aims to increase food awareness in families having children, promoting healthy food consumption in a simple and intuitive way. NUBI works helping parents to prepare balanced meals for their children, taking into account what children eat at school, to guarantee the consumption of a varied and balanced diet, according to the children’s age range. 

Specifically, the application is addressed to parents (or other family members or people who take care of preparing meals) with children attending nursery school (after weaning to 2 years of age), preschool (from 3 years to 5 years of age) or primary school (from 6 to 11 years of age), who are provided with standard menus at school. The final recipients of the meal proposals provided by the app are healthy children, and the adults who take care of them, who do not need to follow special diets due to specific metabolic illnesses or behaviours/beliefs (e.g. due to religious or cultural reasons). 

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The final aim of the COACh project is to lead to the development of an integrated system for the optimized management of the cold chain involved in vegetable transformation, and its validation in an industrial environment.

The prototype created can rely on innovative components both in the hardware and in the software. The hardware is based on an IoT network for the acquisition of online measurements and on offline sensors for process and products monitoring, integrated through the cloud platform. The software manages both the process and data transmission network based on algorithms that optimize its performances.

The methodologies concern: the product quality evolution in order to identify critical issues in relation to the production process and the cold chain; the development of models for the simulation of the transformation process and freezing plants temperature fluctuations; the optimization algorithms for cold management and network management, respectively.

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The CATERPILLAR project is based on the organic cultivation of monoecious hemp and on the separate collection of buds for the production of seeds and stems for the manufacturing  of textile and technical fiber. The seeds will be used for the production of oil and flour, whereas the stems will be used for the production of fiber and hemp. Hemp oil and flour will be used for the production of functional foods, including gluten-free products. 

The fiber will be extracted from the stems in a prototype bioreactor for microbiological maceration; Larvae of the Diptera Hermetia illucens will clean up the macerated fiber. Finally, the obtained larval biomass will be used for the production of additives for the feed industry.

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