Food Chemistry

Module summary

Module code: FOOD1018
Level: 7
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Richard Fuchs



The quality and safety of foods is to a large extent determined by its chemical composition. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, organic acids, vitamins and alcohols play important roles in food preservation, animal nutrition and food safety. A basic understanding of the nature of these 'building blocks' is essential for food technologists, nutritionists, food chemists and food microbiologists. With this knowledge, strategies for the control of microbial growth in foods, including HACCP, can be more effectively developed. The Module will introduce the student to the principle constituents of foods and food commodities and their role in food preservation and spoilage. Students will also develop laboratory skills for the identification and quantification of key chemical components in foods and food commodities using traditional and modern techniques.
This Module aims:
• To reflect on the significance of the principle chemical components of food and food commodities;
• To assess and interpret the inter-relationships between chemical constituents with food safety, preservation and spoilage;
• To develop the laboratory skills required for the chemical analysis of foods.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
1. reflect on the significance, inter-relationships and functions of the main chemical components of foods;
2. critically assess the importance of key food components to food safety, food quality, nutritional content and shelf life;
3. provide explanations on the results obtained from qualitative and quantitative analyses of foods;
4. provide explanations for the strategies used for the preservation and safe production of foods.

Indicative content

• Introduction to the major chemical components of foods including: proteins/enzymes, carbohydrates, lipids, organic acids and alcohols, vitamins and trace elements;
• Role of specific chemical components in the preservation and spoilage of foods and the intrinsic factors of foods affecting microbial growth;
• The detection of undesirable compounds in foods including biogenic amines and biotoxins, e.g. mycotoxins and bacterial toxins;
• The role of organic acids and alcohols in the preservation and nutritional improvement of foods;
• The laboratory analysis of foods for their main chemical constituents including proteins, enzymes, carbohydrates, acids and alcohols by modern and traditional techniques.