Food Chemistry


The main goal of this curricular unit is to provide the future nutritionist with knowledge of food chemistry and to develop laboratory skills to what concerns analysis of food chemical components.

At the end of the curricular unit, the student must be able to:

  • Identify chemical functions and isomers
  • Recognize structures of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates
  • Describe the chemical changes during food processing of main nutrients
  • Recognize the importance of food chemical changes from a biological and nutritional point of view
  • Understand and perform identification, separation and quantification methods of main food components
  • Discuss strategies to prevent food degradation
  • Identify vitamins and discuss its biological importance
  • Categorize and identify natural and artificial pigments
  • Acquire basic competences in laboratory work
  • Discuss experimental results
  • Plan and write an experimental report
  • Give and receive scientific feedback and critical reviews about performed work

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof.ª Doutora Ana Faria


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





  • Coultate T, Food : The Chemistry of its Components : Edition 6th, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, 2016
  • Belitz, H.-D., Grosch, Werner, Schieberle, Peter, Food Chemistry. 4th edition. Springer-Verlag, NewYork, 2009
  • David L. Nelson & Michael M. Cox. Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry. 5th Edition. 2009.

Teaching method

The UC includes theoretical exposure in large group (2 hours /week) and practical classes in a laboratory. The theoretical content will be delivered to the student in digital format as well as scientific literature considered relevant. The practical classes (1 class 2.5 h/ week) will be held in small groups (3-4 students). A compilation of the protocols will be delivered to the students. Each group will prepare short reports on each experimental work. At the end, each group will prepare a comprehensive scientific report on one of the works carried out to be evaluated by the teacher and presented to the class.

Evaluation method

The evaluation will be distributed with final examination (A1). The practical component (A2), (continuous assessment and evaluation of the final report) will have a 20% weight of the final grade. The student must attend at least 75% of the practical classes and have a rating of at least 10 points (0-20) in the final exam.

Final grade=(A1x0,8)+(A2x0,2)

Subject matter


Chemical functions; isomers; chemical reactions and kinetics

Carbohydrates: structure and function; reactions with monosaccharides

Proteins: aa constitution and structure; reactions during food processing

separation and quantification methods for proteins and carbohydrates

Lipids: characterization, chemical properties and reactions


Antioxidants and prooxidants

Vitamins-quantification methods

Natural and artificial pigments

Nutritional context and integration


 Practical component:

Distinction of biologic compounds based on its functional groups

Characterization of carbohydrates; iodine coloration, reducing power. Starch hydrolysis

Carbohydrate analysis in breakfast cereals

Lipid solubility. Emulsion stabilisation. Unsaturated fatty acids and hydroperoxide identification

Identification of amino acids and proteins. Protein precipitation

Quantification of soluble proteins from milk

Determination of ascorbic acid in juices

Quantification of total phenols from olive oil



Programs where the course is taught: