Food Toxicology


In this complex UC, we propose the learning of fundamental aspects of the General Toxicology and in the Special Toxicology, with special emphasis on compounds that have significant toxicity associated with human diet.
Students will be able to: (1) understand that ‘toxicity’ is a relative phenomenon; (2) understand that food is a complex physical and chemical matrix and the effects of food consumption are the result of interactions between a variety of its compounds, nutrients and non-nutrients; (3) identify the importance of food in the context of food-toxic, toxic-drug, food-drug interactions, among others; (4) have a critical spirit on the impact of food on health; (5) argue sustained on scientific evidence so that their opinion can influence decisions on diagnostic and health intervention policies; (6) to understand how diet influences, modulates the physiology, the metabolism, the action of a drug or toxicological risk; (7) be an 'opinion leader' in the area of Food Toxicology.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof. Doutor Diogo Francisco Santos Silva Pestana


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





• Klaassen CD. Casarett & Doull’s Toxicology The Basic Science of Poisons. 8th Ed, McGraw-Hill Inc, New York, 2013.
• Timbrell J. Priciples of Biochemical Toxicology. 4rd Ed, Taylor & Francis,. UK, 2008.
• Goodman and Gilman’s. The Parmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 12th Ed, McGraw-Hill Inc, New York, 2011.
• Murray R K, Granner D K, Mayes P A, Rodwell V W. Harper’s Biochemistry. 29th Ed, McGraw-Hill Inc, New York, 2012.
• McKee T, McKee J R. Biochemistry. An Introduction. Wm. C. Brown Publishers, London, 1996.
• Alberts B, Bray D, Lewis J, Raff M, Roberts K, Watson J D. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 5th Ed, Garland Publishing Inc, New York & London, 2007.
• Furst A. Can nutrition affect chemical toxicity? Int J Toxicol. 2002;21(5):419-24. Review.

Teaching method

The course is organized in lectures and practical classes: 2 weekly plenary lectures through digital media with a duration of 50 min each; 1 practical class per week with a duration of 2 h, in classes with a maximum of 15 students. The practices are carried out in laboratories prepared for this purpose in cases where experimental protocols are carried out (only in the b-learning version), and through digital platforms when carrying out case studies or thematic discussions. At the end, each group will write a complete scientific report of a Case Study, to be evaluated by the teacher.

Evaluation method

The evaluation has a practical component and a written test evaluation component, both graded from 0 to 20. The assessment of the practical component is continuous, corresponds to 40% of the final grade, and takes into account the following criteria: performance and attendance of students; quality of the practical reports; attitude and knowledge demonstrated by the students. The written test evaluation component is 60% of the final grade and may consist of closed questions (multiple choice), short answer questions, or open questions (development), or combinations of these, and it covers all the theoretical and practical matters. The presence in the examination is conditional to attendance to at least 2/3 of the practical classes and a practical grade of at least 9.5.

Subject matter

Theoretical program
Module 1. Toxicokinetics - xenobiotic absorption; transmembrane transport mechanisms; xenobiotics distribution; excretion and reabsorption of xenobiotics; transmembrane transport of endo- and xenobiotics; biotransformation of xenobiotics: Phase I, II and III;
Module 2. Mechanisms of toxicity;
Module 3. Genomics and non-genomics carcinogenesis; food mutagens and carcinogens;
Module 4. Impact of non-nutrients on health: endocrine disruptors; phytochemicals (genomic and epigenomics effects); xenobiotics in food (food matrix, whose synthesis is exogenous to the food itself, resulting from environmental contamination; formed during food processing).

Lab program
Module 1. Toxicological Methods. Basic concepts in laboratory methodologies and laboratory security. Principles of animal testing in research;
Module 2. Ex vivo toxicological tests: nutritional modulation of biotransformation enzymes. Toxicological effects;
Module 3. Writing a Case Study Report.


Programs where the course is taught: